La Grotte de la Vache

Cave of the Cow - Laroque II - Cave in La Roque


Useful Information

Location: In the Gorges de l'Hérault between Laroque and Saint-Bauzille de Putois.
(43.917219637322155, 3.733106231192441)
Open: no restrictions/gated.
[2021]
Fee: Free.
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=18 m, A=210 m asl..
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: E. Gimon (1905): Une grotte Magdalenianne à La Roque BSPF, p. 224-229. Français - French
Georges Ravoux (1966): La grotte Magdalenianne de La Roque BSPF, p. 239-250. Français - French
Michel Lorblanchet (1967): Découverte de gravures pariétales paléolithiques dans la grotte de La Roque BSPF, p. 143-154. Français - French
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As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

19th cty excavated by Paul Gervais and Cazalis Fondouce.
1905 first article published by E. Gimon in the Bulletin of the French Prehistoric Society.
1955 A. Nourrit surveys the cave.
1966 a study published by Georges Ravoux in the Bulletin of the French Prehistoric Society.
1967 fine engraving of a bovid discovered by the prehistorian Michel Lorblanchet.
1979 rescue excavation by Frédéric Bazile.
28-MAY-1990 listed in the Inventory of historical monuments.

Description

The Grotte de la Vache (Cave of the Cow) is located in the Gorges de l'Hérault between Laroque and Saint-Bauzille de Putois. It is located in the immediate vicinity of the caves of Lauriers, Le Maire and Le Renard. It was originally named Grotte Magdalenianne à La Roque (Cave with Magdalenian remains near La Roque), which is a description, not a name. It is es easily mixed up with the cave of the same name near Niaux, and both are of archaeological interest. Unfortunately Cave of the Cow is rather common, as many caves show bovine remains or cave paintings. In 1967 the fine engraving of a bovid discovered by the prehistorian Michel Lorblanchet, hence the name.

The small cave is the only site of the Hérault which conceals traces of parietal art of the Upper Magdalenian. The first article about the cave was published by E. Gimon in 1905 in the Bulletin of the French Prehistoric Society. In 1955 A. Nourrit actually only surveys the cave, but he accidentally discovered Solutrean objects (bay leaf) and identified an industry from the Upper Magdalenian. In 1966 a study by Georges Ravoux is published in the Bulletin of the French Prehistoric Society, with material attributed to the Magdalenian V. A rescue excavation by Frédéric Bazile in 1979, due to the construction of the new road, was able to discriminate two levels of habitation during the Middle and Upper Magdalenian, separated by a sterile level.