Sunday, May 22, 2011

PAINTINGS IN A CAVE


On Friday, Mom and Aunt LaDene went to see a movie called Cave of Forgotten Dreams.  This movie is about a cave in the south part of France, and it's called Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave.  What's special about this cave is that people back in prehistoric days made pictures on the walls of it.  There were quite a few caves where people drew on the walls, but the Chauvet cave got sealed up by a rock slide, so nobody even knew about it for thousands of years.





The way this cave got discovered was that on December 18, 1994 a man named Jean-Marie Chauvet and two of his friends were exploring some cliffs, and they were looking for caves because they all liked finding them and exploring them.  So when they felt a little air coming out of a sort of hole in the hillside, they made the hole bigger, and they discovered a cave there.  And it wasn't just any old, boring cave.  It was a place where ancient cave persons had painted all sorts of pictures of animals on the walls.




Later on, the French government made the cave a Historic Monument, and they put guards there and a locked door and did all sorts of stuff to protect the cave because its environment was very fragile.  So now there are special metal walkways to go on, and nobody can touch anything inside the cave, and very few people are even allowed to go in there.  But Werner Herzog got to go inside the cave with a small film crew and make a movie in 3D, which is the movie Mom went to see on Friday.


Way back in ancient times, people used to make pictures on rocks and on the walls of caves and places like that because paper hadn't been invented yet.  And even if paper had been invented, there wouldn't have been anyplace such as Office Max to go buy it.  So that's why people drew on the walls.  Also I think that during the winter when they had to stay inside in the cave a lot, it gave them something to do.  Plus it also might have had some religious meaning.

Lions and a deer

Anyway, in the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave, the drawings are special because they are about 31,000 years old, which means they are the oldest ones that anybody has found yet.  Also the artists used stuff like shading and perspective, which primitive people supposedly didn't know how to do.  And the animals in the drawings included scary, predatory animals such as cave bears and cave lions and rhinos and mammoths.  In other caves that have artwork in them, the pictures are mostly of animals that the people hunted, such as bison and deer and horses.  What's not in the pictures are any wolves or foxes or dogs, and that's kind of sad, if you ask me.

Horses and lions

Okay, so here are some other pictures from the Chauvet Cave.  If you want to read more about the cave and see a map of the inside of it and where all the different artwork is, you can go to this website.  And seeing movie would be even better, because Mom says the cave looks really cool in 3D.

Four horses.  This is Mom's favorite art in the whole cave.

This design is made by engraving instead of by painting.

Woolly rhinos fighting

Ibex

A cave bear skull that someone put in a special place on a rock.
There are lots of fossil bones in the cave.

A cave bear

Some auroches and other animals






9 comments:

  1. Good morning, Dodi here. My mom was really impressed with today's blog. I think I would enjoy exploring a cave, but my mom would never do that because she's quite claustrophobic - whatever that goofy long word means. Yeah...where are the pictures of dogs, foxes, etc., I think they are in another cave that hasn't been found yet! Once again, mom is telling me to sign off. Good talking to you,
    Love, Dodi

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  2. Dear Dodi,
    Your mom should not go in a cave if she is claustrophobic, but maybe she could go see the movie about the cave. But if she can't watch 3D stuff without feeling sick, then she shouldn't go to the movie either! I'm glad you agree with me that there should have been some pictures of dogs in the cave, but at least there were some pictures of (very big) cats!
    Love, Piper

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  3. Ohhh, my mom went to that movie last week, but she didn't take me. (last night she went to the U2 concert and didn't take me there either!) But yesterday she brought home 3 big books on cave paintings from the library. Those library people are very nice and let her have the books for free! Anyway, now I can look at the cave art. I think it's a shame they don't let dogs in the caves because we could tell if something really important was in there, like ancient dog pee, but I guess humans don't want to know about stuff like that.

    Your friend,
    Zest, superstar in training

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  4. Dear Zest,
    My mom heard that your mom went to see that movie. I can't believe that neither of our moms took us to see it. I looked at the pictures online, but we did not go get any library books about it. I'd like to go in the cave and find some nice fossil bones to chew on. I might even share them with my brothers.

    Your mom should have also taken you to the concert. I think your mom is not being very thoughtful these days, which is sad.

    Your friend,
    Piper

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  5. Fabulous post, Piper. I can't see in 3-D, so I'm glad you posted 2-D pix for me. Alarie

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  6. Dear Aunt Alarie,
    I'm glad you liked my post. I'm sorry you can't see in 3D, but maybe they will put out a DVD of the movie that is 2D. If I had gone to see the movie, I don't think I could have kept the 3D glasses on my head because Mom said they were really big!
    Your Friend,
    Piper

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  7. Wow, I always been fascinated by caves, they remind me about people from the olden days. It's really hard to believe all this stuff ever happened, the first people living on earth and all because they weren't as advanced as us. It really amazes me how they lived and all.

    Tas

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  8. Dear Tas,
    Maybe the real reason people painted on the cave walls was because they wanted to keep a blog, but computers hadn't been invented yet. Anyway, those people lived a very, very, very long time ago, so it's hard to even think about them since it's hard to imagine that far back in history.
    Your friend, Piper

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