Oceania South Pacific


0 0

CAVE OF CHAUVET Prehistoric Art Cave Painting Silver Coin 1$ Niue 2011


First coin in the series "Prehistoric Art Cave Painting" dedicated to the caves of Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Cave located in the southern France, were have been found cave paintings and other elements of life of the Upper Paleolithic.

More details

Warning: Last items in stock!

59.46 €


69.95 €

We accept payment by:

Add to wishlist


The Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave is a cave in the Ardèche department of southern France that contains the earliest known cave paintings, as well as other evidence of Upper Paleolithic life. It is located near the commune of Vallon-Pont-d'Arc on a limestone cliff above the former bed of the Ardèche River. Discovered in 1994, it is considered one of the most significant prehistoric art sites.

The cave was first explored on December 18, 1994 by a group of three speleologists: Eliette Brunel-Deschamps, Christian Hillaire, and Jean-Marie Chauvet, for whom it was named. Chauvet (1996) has a detailed account of the discovery. There is a summary here. On top of the paintings and other human evidence they also discovered fossilized remains, prints, and markings from a variety of animals, some of which are now extinct. Further study by French archaeologist Jean Clottes has revealed much about the site, though the dating has been the matter of some dispute.

The cave is situated at N 44° 21' and E 4° 29' 24", above the previous course of the Ardèche River before the Pont d'Arc opened up. The gorges of the Ardèche region are home to numerous caves, many of them having some geological or archaeological importance. The Chauvet Cave, however, is uncharacteristically large and the quality, quantity, and condition of the artwork found on its walls has been called spectacular. Based on radiocarbon dating, the cave appears to have been occupied by humans during two distinct periods: the Aurignacian and the Gravettian. Most of the artwork dates to the earlier, Aurignacian, era (30,000 to 32,000 years ago). The later Gravettian occupation, which occurred 25,000 to 27,000 years ago, left little but a child's footprints, the charred remains of ancient hearths and carbon smoke stains from torches that lit the caves. After the child's visit to the cave, evidence suggests that the cave had been untouched until discovered in 1994. The footprints may be the oldest human footprints that can be dated accurately.

The soft, clay-like floor of the cave retains the paw prints of cave bears along with large, rounded, depressions that are believed to be the "nests" where the bears slept. Fossilized bones are abundant and include the skulls of cave bears and the horned skull of an ibex.
Paintings in the Chauvet Cave
Image of Steppe Wisent (Bison priscus). Paintings in the Chauvet Cave on Post stamp of Romania 2001

Hundreds of animal paintings have been catalogued, depicting at least 13 different species, including some rarely or never found in other ice age paintings. Rather than depicting only the familiar animals of the hunt that predominate in Paleolithic cave art, i.e. horses, cattle, reindeer, etc., the walls of the Chauvet Cave are covered with predatory animals: lions, panthers, bears, owls, and hyenas. Also pictured are rhinos. Typical of most cave art, there are no paintings of complete human figures, although there is one possible partial "Venus" figure that may represent the legs and genitals of a woman. Also a chimerical figure may be present; it appears to have the lower body of a woman with the upper body of a bison. There are a few panels of red ochre hand prints and hand stencils made by spitting pigment over hands pressed against the cave surface. Abstract markings—lines and dots—are found throughout the cave. There are also two unidentifiable images that have a vaguely butterfly shape to them. This combination of subjects has led experts in pre-historic art and cultures to believe that there was likely a ritual, shamanic, or magical aspect to these paintings.

The artists who produced these unique paintings used techniques not often seen in other cave art. Many of the paintings appear to have been made only after the walls were scraped clear of debris and concretions. This left a smoother and noticeably lighter area upon which the artists worked. Similarly, a three dimensional quality is achieved by incising or etching about the outlines of certain figures. This visually emphasizes some of the animals and allows torch light to cast shadows about the edges.

  • CountryNiue
  • Year2011
  • Face Value1 Dollar
  • MetalSilver
  • Fineness (purity)925/1000
  • Weight (g)15.57 (1/2 oz)
  • Diameter (mm)35
  • QualityProof
  • Mintage (pcs)1.000
  • Certificate (COA)Yes
  • Presentation case (box)Yes
The image of the paleolitic animal shown on the coin reverse, has a powerful dynamism and lack of definition giving an almost hypnotic and magical character. It seems that the image wants to get out of the rock itself or return inside depending observer perspective. The background faithfully portrays the stone of the cave on which the images were painted . Beside the image, in the right side, we find the name of the series "Prehistoric Art Cave Painting". On the coin obverse we find the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, the country where the coin was minted "Niue" and the year of issue "2011".