Bas Vivarais

18 Jan 2016

At www.nature.com/news/cave-of-forgotten-dreams-may-hold-earliest-painting-... ...

   The volcanoes on the cave walls at Chauvet (see above) lie in an inner gallery that was previously made famous by its depiction of giant deer (megaloceros) and as you can see above, at least one of the deer actually covers the spray painting thought to be a volcano going off in a spectacular fashion. There are other spray paintings but researchers have not determined what they might portray as they are not obviously volcanic.

Chauvet is 35km from Bas Vivarais, a volcanic region, and samples were taken from rocks there. It was shown the area was active between 19,000 and 43,000 years ago. Meanwhile, C14 dating at the inner gallery suggests humans were taking refuge in the cave between 36,000 and 37,000 years ago. Also, charcoal was used to draw the outline of the giant deer above the spray painting and that came out at 34,000 years ago. The researchers seem to take these dates at face value with no trace of doubt but in spite of that the dates are significant in that a major catastrophic event and die-off occurred between 40 and 30,000 years ago - so what do the spray paintings tell us? The volcanoes may have been a symptom of something much more dramatic - but what was that, something that triggered the Late Glacial Maximum.