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What a Discovery!

One of the most interesting things that we saw in Montingnac in the Dordogne area of France was the Lascaux caves. They house some of the best preserved prehistoric cave art in the world. The caves were discovered by chance by four teenage boys in 1940. The boys were playing outside with their dog. The dog ran away chasing a squirrel. When they found the dog, they noticed that it was stuck in a hole. They returned the next day with lamps to further explore the area as they thought this might be a secret entrance to a castle. They descended down a long shaft into a cave. Instead of gold and treasures, they found a lot of prehistoric paintings of bulls, horses, deer, and symbols. The paintings were very colourful and intact. The boys knew that they had found something very special. They told one of their teachers of their findings and they contacted the officials and experts. The paintings were estimated to be 18 - 20 000 years old and thought to be created by Cro-Magnons. They were very well preserved. This is because the cave was dry and sealed.The roof of the cave had collapsed and the entrance was sealed for thousands of years. After the discovery of the caves, they were opened to the public after WWII. It drew a lot of visitors. They soon closed it because the paintings were being damaged by the increased traffic and oxygen exposure. Replica caves were opened by the government in the following years for visitors. We visited the newest cave, Lascaux 4. The tour began with a visit of the replica cave. The size, texture, and paintings were the exact same as the originals. It was really cool and amazing. We then moved on to the museum portion of the tour where there were models of different areas of the cave. At the start of the tour, we were given tablets. Now we could do various interactive activities with these in the museum. I found the Lascaux caves to be very interesting. It was amazing how old and well preserved the paintings were.

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