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Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley

Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley

The Vézère valley contains 147 prehistoric sites dating from the Palaeolithic and 25 decorated caves. It is particularly interesting from an ethnological and anthropological, as well as an aesthetic point of view because of its cave paintings, especially those of the Lascaux Cave, whose discovery in 1940 was of great importance for the history of prehistoric art. The hunting scenes show some 100 animal figures, which are remarkable for their detail, rich colours and lifelike quality.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Sites préhistoriques et grottes ornées de la vallée de la Vézère

Le site préhistorique de la vallée de la Vézère comporte 147 gisements remontant jusqu'au paléolithique et 25 grottes ornées. Il présente un intérêt exceptionnel d'un point de vue ethnologique, anthropologique et esthétique avec ses peintures pariétales, en particulier celles de la grotte de Lascaux dont la découverte (en 1940) a marqué une date dans l'histoire de l'art préhistorique. Ses scènes de chasse habilement composées comprennent une centaine de figures animales, étonnantes par la précision de l'observation, la richesse des coloris et la vivacité du rendu.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

مواقع عائدة لفترة ما قبل التاريخ ومغاور مزينة في وادي فيزير

يضمّ موقع وادي فيزير العائد لفترة ما قبل التاريخ 147 منجماَ معدنياً يعود للعصر الحجري القديم و25 مغارة مزيّنة. ويثير هذا الموقع أهميةً بالغة من الناحية السلالية والثقافية-الإنسانية والجمالية برسوم جدارياته، لاسيما جداريات مغارة لاسكو التي شكّل اكتشافها (عام 1940) حقبة هامة في تاريخ الفن العائد لعصور ما قبل التاريخ. وتتضمّن صور الصيد التي رُسمت ببراعة مئات الصور الحيوانية التي تُدُهش بوضوح ملاحظتها وغنى ألوانها، وحيوية تعبيرها.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

韦泽尔峡谷洞穴群与史前遗迹

韦泽尔峡谷包括147个旧石器时代的史前遗址和25个内有壁画的洞穴。这里无论是从民族学、人类学还是美学角度来看,都非常令人感兴趣,因为这里的壁画,特别是1940年发现的拉斯科洞岩壁画,对研究人类史前艺术史有着非常重要的意义。壁画中的打猎场面有约100种动物形象,描绘细致,色彩丰富,栩栩如生。

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Наскальные рисунки в пещерах по реке Везер

В долине реки Везер обнаружено 147 доисторических стоянок, относящихся ко времени палеолита, и 25 пещер с наскальными рисунками. Наибольший интерес с этнологической, антропологической и эстетической точек зрения представляют наскальные росписи, особенно находящиеся в пещере Ласко, открытие которой в 1940 г. имело особую важность для изучения доисторического искусства. Сцены охоты, изображающие около 100 фигур животных, выделяются своей детальностью, богатством цветов и реалистичностью.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Sitios prehistóricos y cuevas con pinturas del valle del Vézère

El sitio prehistórico del valle del Vézère comprende 147 yacimientos arqueológicos y 25 cuevas ornadas con pinturas parietales, que ofrecen un interés antropológico y estético excepcional. Las más importantes se hallan en la cueva de Lascaux, cuyo descubrimiento en 1940 marcó un hito en la historia del arte prehistórico. Las escenas de caza representadas en ellas son de una composición admirable y comprenden cien figuras de animales ejecutadas con un agudo sentido de la observación, que asombran por su gran riqueza de colorido y su vívido realismo.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

ヴェゼール渓谷の先史時代史跡群と洞窟壁画群

source: NFUAJ

Prehistorische plaatsen en versierde grotten van de Vézère vallei

De Vézère vallei herbergt 147 prehistorische plaatsen uit het paleolithicum en 25 versierde grotten. De plek is etnologisch, antropologisch en esthetisch interessant vanwege de grotschilderingen. Sommige figuratieve ensembles van de Vezère grotten worden algemeen erkend als meesterwerken van prehistorische kunst: de Venus van Laussel (Marquay), de fries van paarden in hoog reliëf van Cap-Blanc en in het bijzonder de muurschilderingen van de grot van Lascaux. De ontdekking hiervan in 1940 was van groot belang voor de geschiedenis van de prehistorische kunst. De jachttaferelen tonen zo’n 100 dierfiguren, bijzonder vanwege hun details, rijke kleuren en levensechte kwaliteit.

Source: unesco.nl

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Lascaux cave. Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley (France) © UNESCO
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief description

Located in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in the Department of the Dordogne, the Vézère Valley is a priviliged prehistoric territory that contains more than 150 deposits dating back to Paleolithic times and about thirty decorated caves. This vast territory of roughly 30km by 40km is of outstanding interest from the ethnological, anthropological and aesthetic point of view with its cave paintings, in particular those of the Lascaux Cave, discovered in 1940. It also enabled the establishment of a chronological cadre for the prehistoric civilizations of the European quaternary period.

This property comprises 15 prehistoric sites that bear witness to a strong Paleolithic occupation: decorated caves, funerary places, workshops, exploitation areas for raw materials, habitats, hunting scenes. Furthermore, its potential as an archaeological reserve is considerable, as demonstrated by the discoveries carried out as preventive excavations since inscription on the World Heritage List.

Criterion (i): Some of the figurative ensembles found in the caves of the Vézère Valley are universally recognized as masterpieces of prehistoric art: The Venus de Laussel (Marquay), the chevaline frieze in high relief of Cap-Blanc, and especially the wall paintings of the Lascaux Cave (Montignac), of which the discovery, in 1940, marks an important date in the history of prehistoric art: hunting scenes  skillfully composed present close to one hundred animal figures, surprising in the precision of their observation, the richness of their colour, and the vivacity of their rendering.

Criterion (iii): The objects and the works of art found in the Vézère Valley are extremely rare witnesses of long extinct civilizations, which are very difficult to understand. This material, invaluable to the knowledge of the most distant periods of the history of humankind, dates back to the Paleolithic period and is of exceptional interest from an historic, ethnological, anthropological and aesthetic point of view.

Integrity

The association and the density of the Paleolithic sites make the Vézère Valley an ensemble that fully reflects the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value. By their chronology (from 400 000 to 10 000 years), these sites reflect the diversity of human occupations and artistic productions of prehistoric humankind. The essential of the sites is conserved in the state in which they were discovered, ensuring their authenticity. The integrity of their environment is also preserved, mainly in a traditional rural context.

The vestiges are well preserved and documented. The long history of research in this pioneer region of prehistory provides an exceptional level of understanding and documentation of the sites, including a shared outreach tool for the State and territorial collectivities: the Pôle international de la préhistoire.

Authenticity 

Despite threats concerning the conservation of the Lascaux paintings that had already led, in 1963, to the closure of the cave to the public, its acquisition by the State and the adoption of strict management measures – threats renewed during a biological proliferation, in 2000 - the authenticity of the paintings and the deposits is ensured. The surface of the Lascaux paintings, modified by “brown marks”, is minimal.

Protection and management requirements

This series of 15 prehistoric sites that comprise the property benefit from high-level legal protection: listed as Historic Monuments, with some sites listed under the Environment Code.

To guarantee their conservation, some caves are closed to the public, due to their vulnerability. Access is always provisional. Monitoring of their state of conservation is ensured by the managers of these areas under the authority of the State and with the participation of the scientific community (The National Centre of Prehistory, Historic Monuments Research Laboratory, the International Scientific Council of the Lascaux Cave).

Protection for the ensemble of the territory of the Valley has now been implemented for several years. It is based on a policy privileging the protection of the immediate environment surrounding the sites and their presentation in the interpretation centres, such as the International Centre for Cave Art in Montignac, comprising a new replica of the Lascaux Cave.

A local Committee, bringing together all the partners and coordinated by the State, has as objective to define the principal issues and actions to be carried out to preserve the Outstanding Universal Value, integrity and authenticity of the property, in particular, based on all the work linked to the “Grand Site de France”, operation conducted in parallel on the territory.