In September of 1940 four teenagers discovered the Caves of Lascaux. The famous frescoes inside have been the subject of much interpretation and speculation. The paintings date back 17,000 years are thought to be incredible representations of life in the upper Paleolithic period. The caves have been divided into rooms: The Great Hall of Bulls, the Lateral Passage, the Shaft of the Dead Man, the Chamber of Engravings, the Painted Gallery and the Chamber of Felines.
Some archeologists have guessed that the caves themselves were not used as a dwelling but rather as a place for ceremonial gatherings and the inhabitants lived near the caves in huts.
A new theory has been advanced that the Caves actually represent the first known example of formalized education and that the site was actually an Art Institute. Examples of similar styles of art work range all over western and central Europe and it is highly likely that Cro-Magnons from as far away as present day Turkey would travel to Lascaux to study art with the masters of the day. And that the rooms in the caves are nothing more than “classrooms” where different art forms were studied and perfected. The walls being nothing more than “sketch pads.”
This thesis is supported by the recent discovery of a chamber off the Lateral Passage. The use of this chamber is now clear… it was used by the art students for their toilet needs. The painting shown above was taken from wall of the “lavatory” and is history’s first recorded example of graffiti. The bird in the foreground is a Giant Hoopoe (now extinct) and was said to represent a “dunce”. The figure of the man screaming in agony is an unpopular art professor who is about to be attacked and have his genitalia ripped by an aurochs.