Sites & cities that bear the name of Pair-non-Pair


Today in : France
First trace of activity : ca. 80,000 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 22,000 B.C.E
Recorded names : Prignac-et-Marcamps

Description : The Pair-non-Pair Cave is located near the village of Prignac-et-Marcamps, Aquitaine:Gironde (33) department in France. Only discovered in 1881 it is known for remarkable prehistoric parietal engravings - petroglyphic representations of wild animals (horses, ibexes, cervidae, bovines and mammoths), "which rank among the most ancient examples of art made by prehistoric" humans, dating back to between 30.000 and 25.000 BP, the Aurignacian cultural period of the Upper Paleolithic. The third decorated cave ever to be discovered after Altamira in Spain and the Chabot cave in Ardèche it was the first cave ever to be classified and listed as a historical monument in France on December, 20th 1901. Excavations under the leadership of archaeologist François Daleau (1845 – 1927) began immediately in March 1881 lasting until 1913. Lines on the walls were discovered in 1883 and the first animal engravings came to light in 1896 as the "...authenticity was never questioned, and it became one of the major arguments for the recognition of prehistoric art." Human occupation took place over a period spanning 60,000 years from the Mousterian (~80 000 BP), the Chatelperronian (~40 000 BP), the Aurignacian (~30 000 BP) and into the Gravettian (~25 000 BP) cultures. André Cheynier and Henri Breuil conclusively determined four settlement periods in 1963 by analyzing the stratification of the sediments and the precise location of the many stone artifacts and animal bones. Contextual fossils and the nature of the tools found lead to the conclusion that the earliest two settlement periods must be attributed to Homo neanderthalensis, who is gradually less present at the site during the Chatelperronian and fully disappears during the Aurignacian. After the entrance to the cave had collapsed during the Châtelperronian access was gained during the Aurignacian by axial cavities that opened to the left of the Chamber of Engravings. The occupation period is shorter and housing concentrated more in the Northern Gallery deep in the cave. During the Gravettian, housing was reserved for the bottom of the cave (Northern Gallery) only while the walls of the room were decorated with engravings of animal representations (horses, goats, the rare Megaloceros deer and mammoths). The cave was abandoned during the Protomagdalénien - around 22000 to 20000 years ago - when accumulation of debris and deposits had made access to and housing in the cave impracticable.

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