This could be a very rare oppurtunity to get a look at the Chauvet cave art images in a way that would be almost like being there – Werner Herzog (He made the documentary Grizzly Man) has talked his way into the cave with good cameras, and this could be really revolutionary for we students of cave art and the origin of art, symbolism, human made imagery, and the distant origins of writing.

Herzog has apparently been given permission to film inside the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc cave, a site in the Ardèche department of southern France that contains the earliest known cave paintings, dating back at least 30,000 years. Even more intriguingly, Herzog is planning to shoot much of the film in 3D.

The Chauvet cave, discovered in 1994, cannot be accessed by tourists, as the French authorities have deemed the risk of degradation to be too high, so Herzog’s film might be the only opportunity for the rest of humanity to view the site. The paintings depict lions, panthers, bears, owls, rhinos and hyenas, suggesting a vastly different fauna at the time of the paintings to that of modern France.

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One of the panels from Chauvet – photo from the wiki.

Chauvet is the great painted cave discovery of our time, and I am really looking forward to seeing it in video form.

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The Hall of the Bulls from Lascaux – photo from the wiki

One of my dreams, something I hope very much happens before I die, is that the cave at Lascaux can be videoed in extreme hi-resolution and detail, and that we will be able to see the art of the most important painted cave once again. Yes, I understand the risks, and I too worry about the damage that we have done, but still, I hope…

Can you imagine looking at the wounded man? It sends a shiver up my spine.