Google Search
World's oldest rock art the focus of free public lecture

This image displays art from one of the walls inside France's Chauvet Cave, the site of the world's oldest rock art, and the topic of the upcoming Watts Lecture at U of T Scarborough.

The Chauvet Cave in southern France is regarded by many as one of the most significant prehistoric art sites in the world, dating back to the Ice Age. It will be the focus of a free public lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 8:00 p.m. at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

The archaeologist who revealed the true value of the world’s oldest rock art is the featured guest speaker at the 32nd Watts Lecture. Professor Jean Clottes is a world-renowned French archaeologist who led the research team that appraised and shed light on the significance of the Chauvet Cave following its discovery in 1994 in France’s Ardeche Valley.

This extensive series of caves was uncovered by three explorers who removed a rumble of stones and uncovered an earth-shattering find. Inside the extensive cave they found more than 400 spectacular Paleolithic images painted on the walls, featuring mammoths, horses, lions, bears and rhinoceroses. The cave also contained the fossilized remains of many animals, including those that are now extinct, and provides an astonishing archaeological record and window into the past.

The Chauvet Cave is renowned for both the quality of its prehistoric artwork and the age of its remains, estimated at 35,000 years old and considered one of the world’s most significant sites for prehistoric art. Hundreds of paintings have been catalogued, depicting at least 13 different species, including those rarely or never found before. Radiocarbon dating shows that the cave was frequented by humans during two different periods, between 30,000 to 32,000 Before Common Era (BCE), and between 25,000 to 27,000 BCE.

Clottes is the featured guest speaker at the 32nd Watts Lecture at the University of Toronto Scarborough, Academic Resource Centre (ARC) Lecture Theatre, Room AC223, 1265 Military Trail. His lecture is titled “The Original Masterpiece: Explore the Earliest Cave Art.”

“We are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Jean Clottes from France coming to our campus to speak about the significance of these cave paintings dating back to the Ice Age,” said Prof. Ian Brown, who helped to facilitate the upcoming lecture. “Dr. Clottes is an incredibly dynamic and engaging speaker, and he has held the post of France’s ‘General Inspector for Archaeology’ and headed the research team that appraised the Chauvet Cave.”

The Annual Watts Lecture is named in memory of the late F.B. Watts, a distinguished geography professor at U of T Scarborough. The series began in 1970 and is aimed at drawing a broad audience on a topic of wide appeal. Previous Watts lecturers include: Lester B. Pearson, David Suzuki, Ed Mirvish, Mark Tewkesbury, and many more.  All are welcome to attend the lecture.  

by Mary Ann Gratton







© University of Toronto Scarborough