Grotte des Combarelles - History and Facts | History Hit

Grotte des Combarelles

Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, New Aquitaine, France

Grotte des Combarelles is a cave in southwest France with prehistoric paintings.

Image Credit: Alamy

About Grotte des Combarelles

Grotte des Combarelles in southwest France is a cave which houses a series of prehistoric paintings of various animals and people as well as symbols.

Grotte des Combarelles history

Like those images and paintings in Grotte de Font de Gaume, the art in the cave of Les Combarelles was discovered by archaeologists in September 1901. Radiocarbon dating of bones found in the cave indicated that the cave was inhabited by Cro-Magnon people roughly 12,000 years go.

During that period, these people produced hundreds of drawings on the sandy cave walls, traces of dye suggesting the engraved drawings were originally coloured.

Grotte des Combarelles today

There are about 600 individual images in this cave, of which 245 are animals (horses, bison, mammoth, reindeer and stags, bears, and lions – there is even a single rhinoceros).

The rest of the images include numerous geometric patterns, and a number of depictions of humans – some interesting incised outlines of human heads, prehistoric portraits if you like, and some very stylized images of the female body which often clearly depict breasts which allow for identity of the gender.

Grotte des Combarelles forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the painted caves of the Vezere Valley.

Getting to Grotte des Combarelles

The cave is about 1.5 kms outside of the town of Les Eyzies-de-Tayac on the Avenue des Grottes, and is well sign-posted. The nearest train station is Gare des Eyzies.

Featured In

France Historic Sites

From towering imposing castles to First World War trenches, ancient Roman ruins to historic Revolutionary sites, France is brimming with relics of its esteemed and turbulent history. Here's our pick of 10 of the very best attractions in the country.