La grotte ornée de Villars (Dordogne). : Revision of the decoration and new datas

Abstract : The decorated cave of Villars, a hundred meters long, is a limited sector of a labyrinthine subterranean network of about ten kilometers. The whole system was discovered and mapped by the Speleo-Club of Périgueux from 1953 onwards. Parietal vestiges, discovered in January 1958, were the subject of a first methodical publication in 1974. The study was completed from 2009 to 2011 within the framework of the ANR MADAPCA through the revision of the parietal decoration, prior to a dozen radiometric dates being obtained from charcoal marks on the walls, and from reindeer bones and antler). The figures are small in size, generally placed within the frames provided naturally by concretions. The decoration, drawn in black, except for 3 signs and red dots, is dominated by the classic horse-bison association. Among the identifiable figures, there are 2 horses, 1 bison and 1 bovine in the Salle des Cierges or its surroundings, while in the Salle des Peintures there are 6 horses (including one vertically drawn), 2 bison, 2 or 3 ibex, 1 rhinoceros, 1 man and a few outlines of unidentified species. The anatomical details and the animation of the animal silhouettes, as well as the association, at the back of the sanctuary, of 4 elements (man-bison scene, horse-head and rhinoceros), recall the style and themes of Lascaux. The accompanying signs consist of dots, isolated or in clusters, long lines, and some more differentiated signs: curved (including 2 schematic feminine figures), grid, diagonal cross, barbed sign. About 100 intact or fragmentary objects were recovered during the exploration and development of the cave, either by humans (flints, calcite cups, pigments, reindeer antler and bones) or by bears which preceded them and left many traces of their hibernations (clawmarks, paw-prints and bones). Thirteen 14C dates have been obtained, the results of which broadly confirm the estimates presented by archaeologists on the basis of stylistic analyses, comparing the works of Villars with those of Lascaux.
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Brigitte Delluc, Gilles Delluc, Gérard Delorme, Dominique Genty, Helene Valladas, et al.. La grotte ornée de Villars (Dordogne). : Revision of the decoration and new datas. Bulletin Préhistoire du Sud-Ouest, 2016, 24 (2), pp.97-157. ⟨halshs-02388373⟩

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