Chauvet Cave, located in Southern France, was first explored in 1994. The leader of the trio of speleologists who found these beautiful cave paintings was Jean-Marie Chauvet, after whom the cave is named. The cave had been sealed for thousands of years and so remained undisturbed and the artworks were preserved in unbelievably good condition.
The Chauvet Cave contains hundreds of animal paintings, including species not found in other prehistoric cave paintings. Many predatory animals including bears, lions, panthers, hyenas and rhinoceroses are depicted in the Chauvet cave, as well as animals that are usually found in cave paintings (horses, deer, bison). The Chauvet cave paintings have been dated back 30,000 years, which made them the oldest cave paintings discovered (until recently, when a red dot painted in the Cave of El Castillo in Spain was dated 5-10,000 years earlier). Amazingly, these paintings are as fascinating as any contemporary artworks. Viewing them connects us in a very special way to these ancient artists who lived so long ago.