By coming up with ages older than expected, the first C-14 datings (with a calendar interval of 37,000 to 35,000 years) enitrely modified established certainties for the black drawings in the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Cave. At the same time, C-14 datings more recent than a few thousand years were measured on black marks present on the walls (with a calendar interval of 31,700 to 29,500 years). The impact of these results led the scientific team to extend its perspectives in the study by integrating the dating into a plural approach, in an attempt to discover not only the age of the drawings and the humans but also that of the geomorphological evolution of the cave.

As of today over 200 C-14 datings have been carried out on the charcoal and the floor, drawings, traces on the walls and animal bones, especially the cave bear, confirming the existence of two phases of human habitation shown by the first datings, and one phase of animal occupation. Datings by thermoluminescence on two rubefied wall fragments showed that their heating up in a hearth dated back to the first human habitation.

At the same time, the uranium/thorium dating method was applied to a stalagmite that had grown in the prehistoric entrance scree, showing that the cave was closed off more than 13,000 years ago. This result was confirmed by the chlorine-36 dating of four collapses from the cliff, which sequentially obstructed and eventually closed off the entrance into the cave.

As of today, more independent datings have been carried out in the Chauvet-Pont d’Arc Cave than in any other decorated cave, applied to anthropogenic and natural remains. The set of datings enables us to draw up a very coherent scenario of the cave's history.

Panoramique associé: 
Galerie des Mégacéros
Type de notice: 
Anita Quiles