Grotte du Figuier

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Site type:
Site function:
Habitation site, Decor cave
44.3, 4.57

Grotte du Figuier is a prehistoric site comprising an important archaeological site and an ornate cave from the Upper Paleolithic. It is located in the commune of Saint-Martin-d'Ardèche (Ardèche).

The vast entrance porch, excavated from 1878, yielded occupations of the Mousterian (Eastern Quina type), the Aurignacian (Aurignacian blades and Dufour lamellae), the Solutrean (S. old with points with flat face, S. upper with bay leaves) and the Upper Magdalenian (spears with double bevels, fluted).

The grave of a five-year-old child, covered in ochre and accompanied by a shell pierced with Glycymeris, was discovered in a gallery. It was reported to the Magdalenian.

The first incisions of the ornate part were reported by P. Raymond in 1906, and then identified by H. Breuil in 1928. Surveys were carried out by J. Combier in 1950, and then by L. Chabredier in 1966. The works are degraded and include a dozen engravings of animals: 3 bison, 2 mammoths, a boviné, a horse, a probable caprine, and indeterminate traces.

The stratigraphic sequence gives them an age between 25,000 and 15000 years BP, oscillating between the Upper Gravettian and the Magdalenian. The engravings show clear affinities with the art of the Chabot cave and the cave of Oulen and are attributed to the Solutrean.