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Palaeolithic Cave Art at Creswell Crags in European Context$
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Paul Pettitt, Paul Bahn, Sergio Ripoll, and Francisco Javier Muñoz Ibáñez

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199299171

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199299171.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 October 2021

The Engravings of Gouy: France’s Northernmost Decorated Cave

The Engravings of Gouy: France’s Northernmost Decorated Cave

(p.140) 9 The Engravings of Gouy: France’s Northernmost Decorated Cave
Palaeolithic Cave Art at Creswell Crags in European Context

Yves Martin

Oxford University Press

For almost half a century the cave of Gouy, discovered in 1956, was the northernmost Palaeolithic decorated cave known in western Europe. Because of its originality and its geographical location, it overturned our knowledge, as has, today, in its turn, the magnificent discovery of the first British parietal Palaeolithic art which has at last been revealed in Church Hole, at Creswell Crags, in Nottinghamshire (Bahn et al. 2003). This revelation extends the distribution of Palaeolithic parietal art further to the north and the west. Following this major event, the possibilities of similar explorations have been reinforced. Even more than before, other discoveries can today be foreseen, not only in the neighbouring regions but very probably also some day soon in Belgium and Germany. Before the authenticity of its decoration was accepted unanimously, Gouy, like Church Hole, was not exempt from scepticism. This attitude inevitably accompanies discoveries which call into question our knowledge in all fields of research. However, doubt is necessary and, in some ways, it is obviously very useful. In particular, it incites one to gather together all the elements that support the accuracy of any new thing. Where Gouy is concerned, there were two principal objections which counted against it and perplexed researchers. The most frequently used negative argument from the very start was its geographical location. From 1946 to 1956 the Grotte du Cheval, at ArcysurCure in Bourgogne (Bailloud 1946), was the northernmost decorated cave. Even this cave appeared very eccentric at this latitude. Consequently, far away from the great regions of parietal art, Gouy could not be attributed to the Upper Palaeolithic. Moreover, the (recognized) open-air occupations of the Upper Palaeolithic and Final Upper Palaeolithic were thought to be virtually non-existent (in the regions close to Gouy). This view already ignored the proximity of the rockshelters of Métreville, near Saint-Pierre d’Autils, where there had been a ‘Magdalenian’ industry associated with mammoth bones (Poulain 1904, 1905). In reply to this opinion, which was still widespread in recent times, Gerhard Bosinski proclaimed in public, ‘it is … (the Final Upper Palaeolithic), look for it … in your region …

Keywords:   Bois Ragot, France, Ferrassie, La, France, Gaudry, Abri, France, Hohlenstein, Germany, Lalinde, France

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