“Cave of Forgotten Dreams”: Chauvet Cave

Although the movie, “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” can be over dramatic at points, I found the film very fascinating. After watching the film, I realized I had seen images of these paintings before but did not know the context in which they were originally created and found. It made me wonder if there are other images like it with interesting background stories that I don’t know about.

Not only were the paintings incredible, the cave itself and the story of finding the cave are remarkable. I had never heard of people finding caves by feeling for air currents and I would imagine it is very difficult. It is incredible that a discovery like this was made. The chances of finding the cave opening I would suspect were very small. After finding the cave, the first explorations of the interior must have been very exciting however, I wonder about the impact the first scientists had on the cave before the metal floor system was installed. Before the floor system, their footprints would have potentially altered evidence of the previous people and animals that were in the cave.

Relating to the metal platform structure, throughout the movie I was wondered how they built and installed the walkway without damaging the cave. I did not imagine there would be something so elaborate inside the cave. The builders must have brought it into the cave in very small sections and constructed it. With that, they must have done detailed mapping and planning for where to put the platform to prevent covering any evidence. With the platform now in place, I wonder if there is anything under the platform that could have been found if the platform had not been built. Also, the platform does not allow close access to all parts of the cave. Are all scientists restricted to only using the platform or can special scientists in certain circumstances leave the platform to examine other parts of the cave more closely?

Regarding the preservation of the cave, what makes the cave so unique is not only the pictures but how well they are preserved. Another question I had while watching the movie was if the oxygen supply is a concern to scientists exploring the cave. No one was wearing supplemental oxygen so there must be enough in the cave to support the people there. Since there is enough oxygen, there must be airflow into and out of the cave. With that, I wonder if this flow of air and the substances that it contains causes any deterioration to the paintings inside the cave.

These are the thoughts I had regarding this documentary and some of the questions I had while watching.