The Bear Hollow Chamber

The cave's biggest room with the highest vaulted ceilings at 32 ft high!

Grotte Chauvet - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Landscape, salle des Bauges (grotte Chauvet, Ardèche) (2008/2008) by L. Guichard/Perazio/smergcGrotte Chauvet - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Once inside the cave, you are engulfed in darkness. But little by little, you eyes will become accustomed to the great volume of the Bear Hollow Chamber, the biggest in the cave spanning 6,500 ft² of floor space.

Salle des bauges (Chauvet cave, Ardèche) (2006/2006) by L. Guichard/Perazio/smergcGrotte Chauvet - UNESCO World Heritage Site

This chamber is as long as it is wide, at about 230 ft. The highest vaulted ceilings are 32 ft high and the entrance hall through which we currently access the cave has two drawings.

Little Mammouth Entrance (0031-07/0031-07) by Jean ClottesGrotte Chauvet - UNESCO World Heritage Site

One of them is recognizable. This is a woolly mammoth profile drawn with ocher. Its contour lines perfectly match the shapes that support it.

This first red figure highlights the strong link between the representation and the shape of the rock, which would have informed the choice of the animal symbol.

The human who drew this mammoth probably saw the animal's profile in the wall and simply acknowledged its presence by highlighting it through drawing. In this case, you could say that the animal was already in the wall.

Little Mammoth at the entrance (2015-04-25/2015-04-25) by L. Guichard/Perazio/smergcGrotte Chauvet - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Rock art is not just a simple graphic expression for which the rock would be a mere neutral supporting medium. On the contrary, the shape of the rocks here probably influenced the drawing itself.

Feline Fresco (Chauvet Cave, Ardèche) (2008/2008) by L. Guichard/Perazio/smergcGrotte Chauvet - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Credits: Story

The Syndicat mixte de l'Espace de restitution de la grotte Chauvet (Public Union to manage the Chauvet Cave/SMERGC) thanks the Ministry of Culture and Communication. This exhibition was created as part of an agreement linking these two partners to promote the Chauvet Cave and its geographical and historical context.
SMERGC is the designer, developer and owner of the La Grotte Chauvet 2 site (formerly known as Caverne du Pont d'Arc). It prepared and defended the application package of the Chauvet Cave for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

http://lacavernedupontdarc.org/
https://www.facebook.com/lagrottechauvet2/

SMERGC also thanks Google Arts & Culture.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Explore UNESCO World Heritage
Preserving the world's most outstanding places for future generations to enjoy
View theme
Google apps