This Day in History – September 12th


Maire Birdwell, Managing and Features Editor

On this day in 1940, the ancient Lascaux cave paintings were discovered by a group of four teenagers after following their dog go down a narrow entrance into a cave.

The cave paintings are 15,000 – 17,000 years old, with artwork of mostly animals. They were first studied by the French Archaeologist Henri-Édouard-Prosper. The Lascaux cave has a main cavern that is 66 feet wide and 16 feet high. There are nearly 600 paintings and about 1,500 engravings. The artwork was made in excellent detail of animals like horses, red deer, stags, bovines, felines, and what appear to be some kind of mythical creatures. Many believe that the cave was used as a hot-spot for hunting and religious activities.

The Lascaux cave was opened to the public in 1948 but was closed 15 years later since the artificial lights had faded the colors of the ancient paintings and caused algae to grow. A Lascaux cave replica was opened nearby in 1983 and today, there are still thousands of people who come visit the site.