Grotte de la Colombière

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Site type:
Site function:
Habitation site
46.08, 5.39

The Colombière cave or Colombière shelter is located in the Jura massif in the town of Neuville-sur-Ain (Ain) at an altitude of 254 meters. It is classified because it has a deposit of prehistoric artifacts.

Sometimes called the Colombière shelter or Colombière rock shelter, this modest cavity is famous for the archaeological heritage it contains and for the excavations that took place there throughout the 20th century.

The site, reported by Adrien Arcelin in 1867, was excavated by L. Mayet and J. Pissot in 1913. A Magdalenian industry was collected there, as well as engravings on pebbles and mammoth bones, one of which was this being the first anthropomorphic representation ever discovered.

New excavations organized by H. Movius from 1948 allowed the recognition of a reliable stratigraphy and the discovery of a tenth engraved pebble. With the Grotte des Hoteaux in Rossillon, the Grotte de la Colombière sparked controversies which marked their time, both regarding the recognition of Paleolithic burials and the interpretation of movable art (“notebooks of sketch” or propitiatory pebbles for hunting).