All Posts in France

October 1, 2018 - No Comments!

Grotte Pair-non-Pair, Aquitaine France

I visited Grotte Pair-non-Pair last week with a National Geographic travel group. I knew about the cave and its Aurignacian era engravings but honestly did not think that the engravings would be very impressive. Wow was I wrong!

The entrance door to cave Pair-non-Pair. It contains engravings of mammoth, horses, ibex and Megaloceros. The cave was identified in 1881 by archeologist François Daleau.

Pair-non-Pair is small, little more than a rock shelter but it contains a remarkable collection of engravings. Horses, aurochs, ibexes, mammoths, and a megaloceros are all engraved into the walls. There are faint remnants of red and black pigment on the engravings reminiscent of the Venus of Lassel. What is more remarkable is that the cave was also a living area. Fireplaces, stone tools, and discarded bones indicate that Pair-non-Pair was occupied for a period of 60,000 years. First occupants were undoubtedly Neanderthals beginning 80,000 years B.P. who were replaced by humans by the start of the Aurignacian 30,000 years B.P. Artwork in a Paleolithic living area is very rare.

The cave itself was found quite by accident in 1881 when a farmer went to recover a cow whos foot had become lodged in a hole in the pasture. Upon investigation, he found the chamber containing the engravings and called in archeologist François Daleau.

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September 2, 2017 - No Comments!

Limited Edition Chauvet Portfolio to support the Ancient Art Archive

I have selected 12 images for a portfolio of prints to help support the Ancient Art Archive. Each image is limited to 12 prints each. Once they are sold there will be no more. The images are approximately 21" x 33" on 2 x 4-foot paper.

Go here to see all the images and purchase.

I'll be showing six of these prints in Oxford next month as part of a lecture at the
Saïd Oxford Business School on September 13. The talk is free but registration is required. Go here for details.

-Stephen Alvarez

June 9, 2017 - 1 comment.

Dating Rock Art, How Old Is It?

Artists who created the ancient masterpieces that we appreciate today—cave paintings, murals on cliff walls, countless carvings, and other artifacts—left no written records about the worlds in which they lived. This often makes it difficult to know when they lived. Fortunately, modern technology has helped scientists develop several dating methods to accurately date ancient art sites.

Scientists used carbon 14 dating to determine that the charcoal used at Chauvet was over 30,000 years old

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January 5, 2016 - No Comments!

Shooting the Lion Panel of Chauvet

The Ancient Art Archive all grows out of a National Geographic Magazine story. I wrote about that experience for the NG Proof blog and I've reproduced that text below. What I couldn't envision at the time is how images can be repurposed. The model above is constructed entirely of images I shot for a panorama of the lion panel. At the time I had not even heard of photogrammetry or even dreamed of building 3 dimensional models.

From the January 5, 2015 NG Proof Blog

At our core, people are visual communicators. Nothing has ever confirmed my faith in that like seeing the ancient art in the cave of Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc in Ardèche, France. Read more