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Inside, an unknown number of these people drew and painted images that, once discovered in 1940, have excited the imaginations of both researchers and the general public.After struggling through small openings and narrow passages to access the larger rooms beyond, prehistoric people discovered that the cave wall surfaces functioned as the perfect, blank "canvas" upon which to draw and paint.The caves where paintings have been found are not likely to have served as shelter, but rather were visited for ceremonial purposes.The second category, “mobiliary” art, includes small portable sculpted objects which are typically found buried at habitation sites.Approximately 15,000 years later in the valley of Vèzére, in southwestern France, modern humans lived and witnessed the migratory patterns of a vast range of wildlife.They discovered a cave in a tall hill overlooking the valley.A virtual revolution occurred in the creation of art during the period of the Upper Paleolithic in Europe. C., the archaeological record shows that anatomically modern humans effectively replaced Neanderthals and remained the sole hominid inhabitants across continental Europe.At about the same time, and directly linked to this development, the earliest art was created.

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While the original caves are now closed to the public (see box), a site known as Lascaux 4 will open its doors nearby, on 15 December 2016.It will be the most complete and accurate reproduction of the caves to date, allowing the public to discover them in their entirety, and to see very precise copies of the paintings.A room at the end of the visit – a "theatre of parietal art" – will enable visitors to replace the paintings in their historical context and to pierce their secrets.Lascaux cave paintings are perhaps the greatest masterpiece of parietal art ever found.They have fascinated generations of people and puzzled prehistorians since their discovery in September 1940, by a group of four local boys and their dog.

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