In 1908 Cap Blanc was discovered under supervision, while others worked nearby uncovering Lascaux and the Lascaux cave. While digging they found one of the most impressive carvings from the upper paleolithic.
Following the uncovering of this, the carving and additional frieze, in 1911, they built protective walls around the area. It included lowering the floor. And, at which point one of the workers hit a skull. It was Magdalenian women.
Located in the Marquay commune on the right bank of the Beune River, a few kilometers west of Eyzies-de-Tayac, in Dordogne.
What is a frieze? A frieze is a broad horizontal band of sculpted or painted decoration, especially on a wall near the ceiling.
The frieze depicts a number of animals, some in haut-relief, dating back 15,000 years. These include ten horses (one measuring 2.20 m long), at least three bison, ibex and several incomplete figures. The sculpted frieze occupies 13 of the 16 meters of the shelter.
Some of the carving are as much as 30 cm deep. Red ochre covers much of the frieze and some of the area around it is now difficult to see. Among other flint tools probably used to create the frieze were found with the Magdalenian women and include burins and scrapers.
The skeleton known as Magdalenian women is that of an early modern human dating from 13,000 to 11,000 BCE, during the Magdalenian period. It is the most complete upper paleolithic skeleton in northern Europe. When Magdalenian women was acquired in 1926 for the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, by Henry Field, then curator of Physical Anthropology. It was hailed as one of the most significant acquisitions the large museum ever made. On the first day the precious skeleton was exhibited, tens of thousands of visitors flocked to the museum to see it.
In 1910 the site was classified as a French historical monument. Currently there are guided tours, a museum and replica of magdelenian women. Be sure to check it out!
Louis Capitan and Denis Peyrony , ” Three new fossil skeletons ,” Anthropological Review , n o 22,1912, P. 439-442