Mas d’Azil is an immense cave and is one of the major prehistoric sites in France. Classed as an historic monument since 1942, it is also a very popular tourist site. The construction of a visitor centre and site path by the commune of Mas d’Azil requires archaeological intervention and two phases have already been completed. The first; a trench to house the buried pipes that traverse the road and the second; the visitor centre located inside the cave.
The first research at this site was carried out in 1860 with Félix Garrigou presenting the general stratigraphy in 1867. Twenty years later, Édouard Piette conducted extensive excavations. Throughout these years, thousands of flint tools and hundreds of portable art objects were recovered.
In 1901-1902, Henri Breuil defined the chronology of the Magdalenian culture based on his excavations at Mas d’Azil and discovered the first parietal art works in the cave (bison, horse, feline, fish, etc.). Between 1936 and 1958, Joseph Mandement discovered numerous previously unknown cavities. But it was Marthe and Saint-Just Péquart who excavated the deep gallery, from 1935 to 1942, and revealed one of the rare “occupations in an obscure cave”, in which a few masterpieces of Magdalenian art were found: Read more.
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