Principal researcher: Carole Fritz; Work team: Olivia Rivero

The Chauvet-Pont d’Arc cave is located in the commune of Vallon-Pont-d’Arc, in the Ardèche gorges (southern France). Discovered in 1994 by three speleologists, the cave has been systematically studied since 1998 by a multidisciplinary team, led until 2002 by Jean Clottes, then by Jean-Michel Geneste and now by Carole Fritz.

The exceptional conservation of the soils and of the human and animal remains and vestiges requires special care in the research methods, using new non-invasive techniques that allow to remain the cave as intact as possible in order to continue the work in the future. The work is based on being able to access the walls and the remains or vestiges on the floor without endangering the integrity of the virgin soils. To this end, walkways are used, mainly following the initial route of those who discovered the cave, in order to be able to access all the rooms with cave art.

The cave has more than 1000 Palaeolithic paintings and engravings, with an estimated age of 36,000 years; the most common motifs represented are animals, from classical themes such as the horse to less common animals such as lions and birds.

Since 2014, this cave has been considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its great historical and artistic value.

For more information, you can access the cave’s website at the following link.