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Grotte de Gabillou, Grotte de Las Agnelas

The 200 engravings of the narrow Grotte de Gabillou , discovered in 1941, indicate a Magdalenian age. It is located in the valley of l'Isle, near Mussidan, France. The cave is in a sandy Maastrichtian limestone. Its northwestern end, once expanded by man and used as a storeroom, is obscured by a building. It was discovered in 1941 by M. Charmarty and M. Truffier.


Text above translated and adapted from: David et al. 1952

Gabillou plan Gabillou plan


Plan of the Grotte de Gabillou.

Photo (left): Heinrich Wendel (© The Wendel Collection, Neanderthal Museum)
Photo (right): http://www.europreart.net/cgi-bin/baserun.cgi?_cfg=record.cfg&_fil=code%3D%22gabil001%22




Gabillou sorcerer Gabillou sorcerer Gabillou sorcerer





The Sorcerer, Grotte de Gabillou.

This is a horned and bearded figure, height ca 25 cm, length of panel including adjoining signs 27 cm.

Note that apart from the slimness of the torso, the only feature which defines this engraving as human is the way the back legs are bent, and the shape of the right leg and foot.

Photo (left): http://www.zwoje-scrolls.com/zwoje38/text07ep.htm
Photo (centre): Clottes (2008)
Photo (right): http://www.delcampe.net/
Text: adapted from Guthrie (2006) and Powers (1994)




Gabillou lamp


Lamp from Gabillou.

Photo: http://www.chaa.be/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Pr%C3%A9histoire-Bestiaire-Slides.pdf




lamp

Lamp from Gabillou

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Aquitaine à Bordeaux




lamp lamp

Lamps from Gabillou

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Aquitaine à Bordeaux




lamp

Although labelled in the museum as being from Grand Moulin, Lugasson, this is not the famous and well made lamp from there, and is instead from Gabillou. Note that Wikimedia Commons labels it as Lampe à graisse découverte à Mouthiers-sur-Boëme, which again is a mislabelling.

It turns out to be from Gabillou, as might be expected from its form and material, length 200 mm, width 170 mm, thickness 80 mm.

Catalog: 2000.13.4
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Aquitaine à Bordeaux




Gabillou lamp

Lamp from Gabillou.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Gabillou spear points

Spear points from Gabillou, some with longitudinal grooves.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Gabillou birth posture


Gabillou.

Woman in the posture of giving birth.

Photo: © jpd
Source: http://www.atramenta.net/lire/oeuvre23919-chapitre117486.html









Gabillou door Gabillou door

The door to the Grotte de Gabillou is not visible from the street, it is beneath a house.

Only two or three visits a year are permitted, by prior appointment with the owners by people with appropriate qualifications and research interests.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014




Gabillou door

Gabillou is a little village about one kilometre to the east of Mussidan, near the L'isle river.

Photo: Google maps.









map of sites in southern France

Map of sites in the south of France, including la grotte de Gabillou, showing ice age coastlines.

Note - Use this pdf file if you wish to print this map on a single sheet of paper.

Photo: Don Hitchcock version 2012/05/26




Gabillou environs Gabillou environs

Near the site of the grotte, there is a restaurant (often called a Relais in this part of France), which is named after the village.

The noun Relais is derived from the old French relaier meaning a hotel that was used as a stop on long journeys.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014









Salle du Cheval Rouge - Chamber of the Red Horse

Gabillou engravings bison horse


Engravings of a Bison and two Horses, one complete and one showing just the head and neck.

Photo: Heinrich Wendel (© The Wendel Collection, Neanderthal Museum)




Gabillou engraving deer


Engraving of the head of a deer.

Photo: Heinrich Wendel (© The Wendel Collection, Neanderthal Museum)




Gabillou engraving horse


A very well executed engraving of a horse, infilled with red ochre. The artist has continued the legs of the horse on the horizontal part of the wall.

Photo: Heinrich Wendel (© The Wendel Collection, Neanderthal Museum)




Gabillou engraving horse


A superb galloping horse. This horse has also been coloured with red ochre. The eye has been clearly shown, larger than life, but that may be a natural feature that the artist has taken advantage of to bring life to the depiction.

Photo: Heinrich Wendel (© The Wendel Collection, Neanderthal Museum)









Etranglement - The Constriction

Gabillou engraving human


Engraving of a human figure.

This is one of the few examples of a clothed human in palaeolithic art. The figure has a parka type covering, and the artist has made good use of the bumps and natural features on the wall.

Photo: Heinrich Wendel (© The Wendel Collection, Neanderthal Museum)
Text: adapted from Guthrie (2006)




Gabillou engraving horse and ibex Gabillou engraving horse


Engraving of a Horse and Ibex.

These figures are remarkable for the attention to detail of the muzzles, and the realistic depiction of the eyes.

Photo: Heinrich Wendel (© The Wendel Collection, Neanderthal Museum)




Gabillou engraving horse


This engraving comes close to being a bas relief, especially at the forehead and jaw.

With just a few lines, the artist has brought the horse to life.

Photo: Heinrich Wendel (© The Wendel Collection, Neanderthal Museum)









Salle du Lièvre - Chamber of the Hare

Gabillou engraving hare


Engraving of a hare.

Photo: Heinrich Wendel (© The Wendel Collection, Neanderthal Museum)




Gabillou engraving feline


Engraving of a small carnivore, possibly a weasel or ermine, which would have been common in the area at the time.

Note the apparent repeated pattern or sign of two black elongated dots all over the surface - they are winged insects, and their shadow!

They may be seen on other images from this cave, and presumably are attracted by the lights used for modelling the engravings for the photographs.

Photo: Heinrich Wendel (© The Wendel Collection, Neanderthal Museum)
Text: adapted from Guthrie (2006)




Gabillou engraving feline


This whimsical creature looks more like a long necked dog than anything else.

Photo: Heinrich Wendel (© The Wendel Collection, Neanderthal Museum)









References

  1. Clottes, J., 2008, El Chamanismo Paleolítico: Fundamentos de una HipótesisVeleia, , 24-25, 2007-2008
  2. David, J., Hervé M., Gauthier J., Malvesin-Fabre G., 1952, La grotte à gravures de GabillouComptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 96e année, N. 1, 1952. pp. 116-118.
  3. Guthrie, R., 2006, The Nature of Paleolithic Art, ISBN-13: 978-0226311265
  4. Powers, R., 1994, The Human Form in Palaeolithic Art, a special issue of Modern Geology, Vol 19, Parts 2-4 (1994)

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