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 Location: Lussac les Ch�teaux, Vienne.  Grid Reference: 46.40� N, 0.72� E.


La Marche, France      La Marche: (Magdalenian Cave Art).

The cave located at La Marche in France was discovered in 1937 by Leon Pericard, a French amateur scientist, and Sthane Lwoff, a palaeontologist. They spent five years excavating the cave and found more than 1,500 pieces of slate with painted carvings on them.

These images are very difficult to understand. Sometimes, several objects in the drawings would overlap each other. Nevertheless, in the eyes of archaeologists, these drawings carry special meaning. In the La Marche cave, you can find paintings of lions, bears, antelope, horses, and 155 vivid human portraits dating from around 15,000 BP, a time long before the rise of the great civilisations and a time when Europe was firmly in the grip of an Ice Age.




   La Marche Cave: (Grotte de la Marche).

When French scientist L�on P�ricard excavated La Marche between 1937 and 1942 he catalogued over 1,500 slabs of limestone that had been carefully placed on the floor (1). In addition, many of the engravings show people wearing hats, robes and boots. Although this does not coincide with the previously accepted view of prehistoric people, it may be because paintings depicting clothed humans were destroyed in the other caves while scientists were studying the walls (In Lascaux, for example, the floor was obliterated to make way for visitors in the 1950s. There is no way of knowing if anything significant was destroyed).

P�ricard originally found 69 human figurines in the caves. There were 49 etchings of heads alone and 18 with the whole body. All together, there were 50 etchings of females, 12 of males and 5 that were of indeterminate gender. Eventually, 155 human figurines were found. (8)

The walls of the cave were not decorated in any way.


The official report from the French Prehistoric Society states that the findings at La Marche are completely authentic.



Some of the engravings show people wearing boots, hats, belts and what appears to be clothing.



Certain findings at La Marche have led to greater debate over the origin and development of writing systems. In particular, an engraved reindeer antler from La Marche has provided proof that more sophisticated systems of symbols existed during the Paleolithic period than once believed. Francesco d�Errico, an archaeologist who analyzed the antler, sees it as proof that humans at this time had �artificial memory systems,� which enabled them to record various groupings of information (9)



Additionally, Dr. Michael Rappenglueck has noted pits arranged like certain constellations on the cave floor. One constellation on La Marche�s floor, the Pleiades, has been found engraved on the walls of Neolithic caves, but rarely on those of the Palaeolithic. Dr. Rappenglueck has suggested that these pits might have been filled with animal fat and set on fire to replicate the stars in the sky. If so, Rappenglueck ventures, this site could mark the origin of the candlelit festivals in the Far East that also celebrate the Pleiades.


Gallery of Images: La Marche.

Images from slate No's 35 and 37 (left), and No 22 (right).


Left: Seated lady (From La Musee Sainte-Croix), Right: Magdalenian Erotic art..?


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1). http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2012385.stm
8). Clottes, Jean. "Palaeolithic Art in France". 2002. Bradshaw Foundation
9). Rudgely, Richard (1999). The Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age (pp. 81-84). Simon and Schuster.

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