Grotte de Roucadour

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Site type:
Site function:
Habitation site, Decor cave
44.72, 1.81

The Roucadour cave is a prehistoric decorated cave located in the Lot department, on the territory of the commune of Thémines.

It is the eponymous site for the Roucadourien, transitional facies between Paleolithic and Neolithic.

The Roucadour cave is decorated with 495 known parietal figurations, including 139 animal representations including 43 horses, 22 felines, 16 megaceros, 11 bison, 9 mammoths and some representations of other animal species including a bird and a bear. There were also 213 geometric signs including 44 indented circles characteristic of Roucadour, as well as other motifs including a series of red and black negative hands.

According to André Glory, the paintings discovered in the "room of paintings" show that the cave was occupied in the Upper Paleolithic, the Aurignacian II-III and possibly the Gravettian. The lack of in-depth research does not make it possible to specify whether the cave was then only a ritual place or a habitat.

The first known occupants came to settle after the end of this collapse. Remains of hearths were found in the "Great Column Hall". This room was occupied until Gallo-Roman times. A well-protected water point may have been at the origin of the occupation of the sinkhole. The material that was discovered there is close to the Final Bronze Ib and IIa like the Erbenheim-type sword that was found there.