The decorated cave of Gabillou

The engravings in Gabillou’s cave at Sourzac were discovered a few weeks after the Lascaux paintings in 1940 by two workers. If they only saw one buòu (ox in Occitan) at the time of the discovery, it is however more than 200 engravings which are spread out along the walls of the cave: aurochs, reindeers, horses, wizard, woman with anorak and a whole series of fantastic animals dated from -17.000 years ago. The cave is then authenticated and the entrance is closed during the war.

Jean Gaussen bought it in 1955, took over the engravings, the excavation and studied it: this was the beginning of his passion for prehistory which he nourished all his life by studying the occupation of the Isle valley in the Upper Palaeolithic.

The Magdalenians drew, engraved or painted on the walls of cavities or rocks or on mobile supports using flint, coal or mineral dyes.

Illustrations :

– Photo of the modern entrance to the Gabillou cave, fitted out in a cellar. Photo Jean Gaussen.

– Photo of Jean Gaussen, in the foreground showing a visit to the cave. Photo Marie-Louise Gaussen.

– Jean Gaussen’s engravings on the cortex of a flint splinter.