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Vilhonneur Cave
Credit Jean-Yves Baratin.

The cave art pre-dates the famous Lascoux paintings

The cave
Latitude: 45.685000 N Longitude: 0.420000 E

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An ancient cave discovered in December in western France contains a rare find: a 27,000-year-old human skeleton in a painted room and a drawing of a human face.

It was only the second time that a human body from the upper Palaeolithic period had been found placed in a cave with decorations.
The state took over ownership of the cave in the Vilhonneur forest on May 12, a ministry statement said.
The crude representation of a human face found in the cave could be among the oldest ever discovered, according to Jean-Yves Baratin, archaeology curator for the Poitou-Charentes region.

Two pieces of calcite that split are used to form the hair with two black horizontal strokes depicting the eyes. A vertical stroke forms the nose and another horizontal stroke the mouth.
Cavers exploring part of a grotto once used to dispose of animal carcasses discovered the cave in December. It dates to the upper Palaeolithic period roughly 25,000 years ago, like the skeleton.
Its discovery was announced in February but it was not until Friday that precise information about some of the finds was divulged.
Baratin underscored the significance of the human skeleton, a young male, placed on the ground inside a decorated room. The only other instance in which a body was known to have been found in a decorated room of a cave is in the hamlet of Cussac, a grotto that experts have said was as important for engravings as paintings are for the famed Lascaux caves.
The archaeologist said two rib bones were analysed at a Miami, Florida, laboratory, dating the skeleton at 27,000 years.

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