Primary Source

Paleolithic Finger Flutings Cave Drawing

Paleolithic Finger Flutings Cave Drawing


This image from Chamber A1 of Rouffignac Cave was created by a young girl we posit to be between four and five years old from her height and the places in the cave where she has chosen to make her flutings. She was part of a group of people who visited the cave during the Upper Paleolithic Period (sometime between 20,000 and 11,000 years ago). It seemed she was part of a group which included 8 individuals, of whom at least 3 were children. This panel is at the entrance to a chamber a half km into the cave and what is striking about it is not only its design but also that it was drawn with two hands at the same time which means this individual wasn't holding a torch at the time of her drawing. This young girl is one of the most prolific fluters in Rouffignac. We find her flutings in almost every chamber and a panel very similar to this one appears 1.5 km further into the cave. She also produced the first known tectiform, a symbolic form, produced by a child. As time goes on, we hope to learn more and more about the people who visited and decorated Rouffignac cave during the Paleolithic.


Leslie Van Gelder, personal photograph.

How to Cite This Source

"Paleolithic Finger Flutings Cave Drawing," in World History Commons, [accessed July 24, 2024]