Grotte de la Chaise


Useful Information

Location: Vouthon, Chateau de la Chaise.
30 km east of Angoulême. West of Montbron, follow D108 or D699 to Vouthon for 5 km. The caves are located below castle La Chaise. The turnoff is not signposted, the road is a single lane gravel road, 70 m before the city limits.
(45.669900, 0.446500)
Open: JUL to AUG after appointment.
[2014]
Fee: Adults EUR 3, Children (0-14) free.
[2014]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: A=105 m asl.
Guided tours:  
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography: Paulette Bouchud, Jean Bouchud (1953):
La petite faune de la grotte de La Chaise (Charente)
Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française Année 1953 50-3 pp. 170-177. Persée
François Bordes (1952):
Les industries moustériennes de la grotte de la Chaise (Charente). Premiers résultats et diagnose provisoire.
Bulletin de la Société préhistorique de France. 1952, tome 49, N. 10. pp. 528-531. Persée
Laurent Puymerail, Virginie Volpato, André Debénath, Arnaud Mazurier, Jean-François Tournepiche, Roberto Macchiarelli (2012):
A Neanderthal partial femoral diaphysis from the “grotte de la Tour”, La Chaise-de-Vouthon (Charente, France): Outer morphology and endostructural organization,
November 2012, Comptes Rendus Palevol 11(8):581-593. DOI:10.1016/j.crpv.2012.07.001. researchgate
Address: Grotte de La Chaise, M. André Debenath, 16220 Vouthon.
Office de Tourisme de Montbron, Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, 16220 Montbron, Tel: +33-545-236009. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1850 first excavations by Fermond and the priests Bourgeois and Delaunay.
1930-1961 systematic excavations by P. David.
1967 start of excavations by André Debénath.

Description

The Grotte de la Chaise (cave of la Chaise) is named after the homonymous hamlet, which belongs to the village Montbron. Chaise means chair in English, so the name is sometimes (wrongly) translated Chair Cave or Cave of the Chair. Actually there is not a single cave, actually there are three huge portals with spacious entrance halls which are connected at the rear. The biggest entrance is 12 m wide and 25 m deep. As a result the site is today mostly called Site préhistorique de la Chaise (prehistoric site of Chaise).

This cave has been used for the last 100.000 years and excavations revealed thousands of remains of our ancestors. This includes numerous findings of the Neanderthal man who lived here until about 35.000 BP. As a result it is also called a major Neanderthal site. Other important periods which are documented here by many remains are the Solutrean and Magdalenian.

Visits to the cave are guided by the prehistorian Professor André Debenath. They are organized by the office de tourisme de Montbron and must be booked there. A good starting point is the museum Centre d'Initiation à la Préhistoire in Montbron, who organize visits to the cave. Several times a year there are open days on special occasions, but even on these days prebooking is required.