On September 12, 1940 near Montignac, France, a collection of prehistoric cave paintings was discovered by four teenagers while chasing their dog down a narrow entrance into a cavern. The 15,000- to 17,000-year-old paintings, consisting mostly of animal representations, are among the finest examples of art from the Upper Paleolithic period.
The Lascaux grotto’s main cavern is 66 feet wide and 16 feet high. The walls of the cavern are decorated with 600+painted and drawn animals and symbols and nearly 1,500 engravings. Animals depicted include horses, red deer, stags, bovines, felines, and what appear to be mythical creatures. There is only one human figure depicted in the cave: a bird-headed man with an erect phallus. Archaeologists believe that the cave was used over a long period of time as a center for hunting and religious rites. The cavern is now closed to visitors because of degradation of the paintings. Rita Bay