France recreates prehistoric paintings from disputed cave

April 10, 2015 2:26 PM

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Jean-Marie Chauvet noticed air whistling out from a crack on a plateau in southern France, so he and fellow cave enthusiasts went to investigate. What they found that Sunday in 1994 still fills Chauvet's voice with wonder: an immense cave covered with prehistoric paintings of horses, mammoths and rhinos — paintings so vivid, he says, it felt like the Stone Age artists had just moments ago put down their ochre and walked away.

The discovery of the long-hidden artwork created a sensation, but the site was quickly closed to the public. Just by breathing, tourists could erode the images.

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