Travelers with a love of all things archaeological will definitely be pleased with a new development coming from the southern highlands of France. You can now step into the past with a replica built of the Chavet Pont-d-Arc.
Those who have marveled at the numerous wonders of the famed Chauvet Pont-d-Arc caves will get a chance to experience their wonders for themselves. The cave, discovered in 2004, has been deemed by historical experts to be the oldest in the world. The five chambers of the cave cover an area of approximately 68,000 square feet, and are adorned with a multitude of prehistoric drawings. These drawings have been said to be close to 36,000 years old. The Chauvet site, situated near to the Ardeche River within a limestone cliff, was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site last June. The Chauvet cave has been the subject of intense examination since its discovery, and subsequently was closed to public viewing shortly after that point. However, there was a documentary shot in 3-D by Werner Herzog in 2011 entitled Cave of Forgotten Dreams that explored the caves’ depths.
The replica cave complex was conceived as a way to avoid the dangers that massive amounts of those tourists looking to get a glimpse of ancient history can cause. A prime example of this would be the Lascaux caves. Those caves would see a heavy amount of visitors within its confines, but it would lead to mold settling in on the walls, which damaged the existing artwork there. In response, a replica of that cave was created. The Chauvet cave replica will primarily focus on the ancient artwork within, thereby not recreating the entire system of caves. The replica itself will be housed in a larger building situated one and a half miles from the original site. Construction began on the replica in 2012, and estimated costs have the project coming in at US$66,898,355 million at last report. Architects managed to provide the doppelganger with accuracy with the help of 3-D mapping and highly detailed sketches of the walls’ artwork. The Chauvet replica is expected to be open to the public next month.