A collection of photographs of caves in the Dordogne.

[France, c. 1900].

8 numbered photographs (224 x 170mm.), mounted on contemporary grey-blue boards, with pencilled annotation on the verso.

£150

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A collection of photographs of the Paleolithic grottes and abris of the Les Eyzies district of the Dordogne, first excavated by Lartet and Christy in the 1860s. The photographs show the hillsides where the caves are situated, with individual houses or whole villages built into the mountains, the occasional farmer in hobnailed boots in the background. The views are of Laugerie Haute and Basse, Les Eyzies, La Madeleine, Mousteer, Cro-Magnan, and Font de Gaume (discovered in September 1901).

The existence of Paleolithic art was first established in a number of caves and rock shelters in southwest France in the early 1860s, but only “in 1902 was the existence of cave art officially recognized by the archaeological establishment” (Oxford Companion to Archaeology, pp. 595). The 1907 edition of Baedeker, the first to mention the caves, still does not mention the paintings and engravings found within them.

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