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The Cosquer Cave: Painted Cave Beneath the Sea

In July 1991, a deep sea diver, Henri Cosquer, discovered paintings and engravings in a cave under the sea near Marseilles, France. The entrance is now 37 meters below sea level. This is due to the rise of the sea after the end of the last ice age. In all the submerged chambers the walls are corroded and nothing is left. The art discovered is thus in upper chambers that have always remained above water level. To reach them it is necessary to scuba dive. Jean Clottes and Jean Courtin, with the help of deep-sea diver Luc Vanrell, registered 177 animal images—many of which were never-seen-before sea animals such as penguins, seals, fish, and figures that may stand for jellyfish or octopuses, as well as over 200 geometric signs, 65 hand stencils and a curious image of a killed man. The ground is strewn with charcoal from torches or fires specifically lit to make the charcoal with which to draw. Jean Clottes, Ph.D. will give insights on why the Cosquer Cave, which dates back to 25,000 years ago, is a major discovery. Dr. Clottes has served as Director of Prehistoric Antiquities for the Midi-Pyrénées, General Inspector for Archaeology at the French Ministry of Culture and Scientific Advisor for prehistoric rock art at the French Ministry of Culture. This lecture is cosponsored by the French Consulate General of Houston.

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  • Dan

    Good presentation and demo out front, but was a solitary experience sitting alone.

    January 25, 2014

  • Inaas

    Great presentation and slides!

    January 25, 2014

  • Ann M.

    Lecture and slides were excellent, but a couple played with a tablet in the row ahead of me. Screen kept flashing.

    January 25, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was a wonderful presentation. I'm writing to Amy at HMNS about transcribing it for them. This is one that really needs audio clips IN the transcript--his accent was half the fun!

    January 25, 2014

  • John M.

    I greatly enjoyed the topic and the speaker who I thought was one of the better story tellers delivering a museum lecture. This was not a good event for being social, so I will schedule such an event in February.

    January 25, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    January 24, 2014

  • Jill M.

    The speaker was exceptionally vivid in his details. I was very impressed with his knowledge and delivery.

    January 24, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Anybody meeting up after the lecture?

    January 24, 2014

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