Grotte de la Roche

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The Grotte de la Roche (or Grotte de Birol, sometimes sheltered from the Roche de Birol) is a prehistoric site in the Dordogne valley, located in Lalinde, Dordogne, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. It has yielded many remains dated to the Magdalenian, now exhibited in various museums in France and abroad.

The cave yielded remains of fauna, flint tools such as chisels, scrapers, blades, and parrot-beaked chisels; bone needles, spear points, harpoons, two pierced sticks, and a dozen decorated objects.

One of the remarkable discoveries is a pendant considered by some researchers to be a rhombus (a wind instrument often compared to the Australian churinga or the American bull-roarer). This reindeer antler object, in an elongated oval shape and equipped with a suspension hole, bears a geometric decoration engraved on a surface previously covered with red ochre. Its interpretation as a musical instrument is not certain: Denis Peyrony describes it as a rhomb and Henri Breuil calls it churinga, but André Leroi-Gourhan does not use this diagnosis. Emmanuel Larrouturou, an ethnologist from Pau, sees the pendant from the Roche cave as a calculator.

The most famous finds, however, are stone blocks engraved with astonishing patterns, which will later be recognized as stylized female figures, attributable to the late Magdalenian. Their graphics present analogies with the plastic of the Venuses of Gönnersdorf, discovered in Rhineland-Palatinate, and seem to originate from Périgord: "Lalinde for portable art and the cave of Fronsac for parietal art are examples types. Another similar representation comes from the Abri des Harpons (Lespugue, Haute-Garonne) with a venus on an antler rod.