Nouvelle Aquitaine

Abri du Poisson - Rock shelter adorned with an engraved salmon

This page was updated on: Sunday, December 10, 2017 at: 4:23 pm

Abri du Poisson - Les Eyzies de Tayac Sireuil

The Abri du Poisson is located near Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil at a place called Gorge d'Enfer.

The canyon is on the right bank of the Vézère River between Grand Roc Cave and Laugerie Basse rock shelters, along the D47 road to Périgueux.

Paul Girod discovered the small rock shelter  in 1892.

However, it was Jean Marsan, who in 1912 discovered the ceiling adorned with a sculpture representing a salmon.

The oldest representation of a fish known to this day

The 1,05m long fish was etched and carved in low-relief, then painted with natural pigments some 25,000 years ago.

This sculpture is therefore the oldest representation of a fish known to this day!

As fewer as a dozen representations of fish have indeed been discovered so far in the world among the many prehistoric paintings and engravings.

The salmon of the Abri du Poisson is a male, is depicted exhausted and struggling after spawning.

It alone emphasizes the importance of fishing for these ancient populations.

Fish was, along with hunting and gathering, indeed one of their main sources of food supply.

Sadly, looters attempted to remove the precious low-relief shortly after its discovery.

They didn't succeed, however, left a series of holes around it!

Fortunately, in 1913 the local archaeologist Denis Peyrony contributed to the foundation of an official department dedicated to protect prehistoric sites from further vandalism and theft!

UNESCO listed the Abri du Poisson as a World Site heritage in 1979.

The Abri du Poisson is open to the public, however, the guided visits are limited to 8 people at a time.

Department of Dordogne - Les Eyzies de Tayac Sireuil
Coordinates: Lat 44.9434781 - Long 0.99846839

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