If you have always wanted to visit a cave where there are actual cave paintings in it, this is your chance to do so—virtually. This resource is devoted exclusively to Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave, located in the south of France at Vallon-Pont-d’Arc (Ardeche), northwest of Marseilles. This decorated Paleolithic cave is significant because it remained intact and undisturbed (due to the collapse of its entrance) until its discovery in 1994. It has uncommonly diverse and superimposed representations (ca. 500 animals), and a chronological span from 32,000 to 22,500 years ago. No human likenesses have been discovered. For bacteriological and climatological reasons, the cave and its unique polychrome art will not be open to the public.
The site has four main components:
- The Cave Today—details the discovery, authentication, and preservation of the cave
- Research—details the research team and its methods
- Time and Space—provides information on the geographical and archaeological context, dating of the paintings in the cave, and the cave's significance
- Witnesses—includes the sensations, emotions. and perspectives of people who have visited the cave
You also can take a virtual tour of the cave by clicking on the "Visit the Cave" button.
The website is easily accessed and is readily navigable, provides compelling sample color images of the cave's extraordinary Paleolithic art, and documents current and ongoing modern scientific research. Jean Clottes, an expert on Paleolithic art, provides salient commentaries.
This resource encompasses concepts from several different scientific disciplines, including: anthropology, biology, mapping, and earth science. It would be a good resource to use when discussing anthropology because it discusses the type of research conducted at the cave site as well as the results of the research. In addition, the virtual tour of the cave is itself a useful resource because it allows you and your students to see the inside of the cave and the cave paintings themselves, something you would not be able to do in person as the cave is closed to the general public.