| 1 June 2016
5,000-year-old paintings high in the French Alps
British and French archaeologists used lasers to scan prehistoric paintings at a site more than 2,000 metres above sea level in Southern France. The Abri Faravel Rock shelter site, about 100 kilometres southeast of Grenoble in the Parc National des Ecrins, is believed to have been used as summer pasture from the Mesolithic to Medieval period, and is still used by shepherds today. One of the paintings depicts a deer with a spear in its back, fending off a dog - a common motif in cave paintings.
Researchers say that while other regions the Alps have examples of engraved rock art, painted rock art at high altitudes is extremely rare and the Abri Faravel paintings are the highest yet found.
In addition to revealing new detail about the ancient artwork, the scans have been used to make a digital model of the site - part of a larger project which the team has been working on since 1998, focusing activities above 2,000 metres in the Alps over the last 2,000 years.
Doctor Kevin Walsh, an archaeologist at University of York and lead researcher on the project, explains that "in the past, maybe 4,000 or 5,000 years ago, people were living and working in these landscapes and that's the kind of thing that our project has demonstrated, that the origins of activity of high altitude go back a very long time."
Researchers working at the site have uncovered a number of artefacts, including flint, pottery, metalwork, and even a Roman brooch.
Edited from Mail Online (25 May 2016)
Share this webpage: