The abri de la Laugerie-Basse is part of the group of caves nicknamed grottes du Grand-Roc. A natural hole sitting on the Eyzies site, along the river Vézère (Dordogne)… the archetypal French prehistorical land! And here, a tragic event took place… long time ago!
One prehistoric evening, a man, exhausted by his hunting day, just wanted to have a little nap: he lied down, his head towards the river, his feet towards the cave’s wall. The air was sweet… and quickly, his eyes closed and he fell asleep… but a noise woke him up. A crack.
A crack, then stones which knocked together! Panic-stricken, he had just the time to fold up his knees below his chin… before tons and tons of rock falling from the cliff crushed him and buried him. Whoa, my gosh! A prehistorical news story!
We learned about this story in a scientific newspaper in 1872 (the year they discovered the skeleton): they immediately found a name for this man: ″the crushed man of Laugerie-Basse″! Our man, wearing animals’ leather, was neither the first, nor the last one, to die this way.
But this time, archaeologists found his skeleton! A body lying on one side, in fetal position, with his left hand below his head, the right hand on the neck, one leg folded, his spine and his pelvis crushed by big rocks.
The cave is 15 metres deep, 50 metres long: la Laugerie has 2 shelters under the rock. In total, we have about 1000 m2 of concretions: stalactites, stalagmites, pendants… The first excavations began in 1860.
They found in the next years animals’ bones, tools and statues of the Magdalenian era, like little ladies… especially the famous ″Indecent Venus″, the first human statue found in France! We can see her in the musée de l’Homme (Paris).