Chauvet Reconstruction Set to Open

Our last Blog Postings were around the time that we learned about, and watched the video on, the Chauvet Cave. Recently I saw a news article about the debut of the simulation cave for people that want to view the cave. Since the cave is too fragile for large amounts of traffic that are interested in the sight, a concrete shed of sorts and to be constructed as an exact replica of the cave itself and the hand paintings of homo sapiens 36,000 years ago.

The simulation cave is said to be the size of a football field. This is much smaller than the actual cave that the movie stated as being 1300 feet long from end to end. The entire project cost about sixty two million dollars and over seven hundred hours to produce. The team of scientists and workers used 3-D models of the original cave, and laser mapping to use as a blue print on the artificial cave walls made out of metal rods and a concrete shell. To make the texture of the cave artists came in and added pigments and earth tones to the walls.

It may be the history buff in me, but I think that this loses almost all historical significance of the cave. I would have no desire to visit the cave because it is nothing more than a museum. It wouldn’t feel like an actual cave. I thought one of the most interesting parts about Chauvet cave was the fact that these pieces of art were over 30,000 years old and that made the wonder of human beings so immense. In the reconstruction these paintings, although exactly the same down to the most minute calculation, are only about seven or eight years old done by artists that were paid massive figures to recreate. The simulation doesn’t have the layers of crystallization that surrounds the entire cave preserving the art as it was right after its painting. Museums are cool and informative, but there’s nothing quite like being in the actual place that history happened.

I understand the need for the remake of the cave, however. Lascaux was discovered in 1943 and was opened to the public to gander through and see the paintings and amazement. This covered the cave in layers of slime bacteria and green algae that has ruined the cave beyond repairmen and forced its closure. With a cave the size of Chauvet, and the historical significance of being a cave with the oldest known paintings discovered, it is important to preserve that in its entirety for future scientists to come along and learn more about the people of 36,000 years ago.