Shelter of the Fish

The Shelter of the Fish is located in the Gorge d’Enfer valley enclosed by the Tayac and Grand Roc limestone mountains that overlook the right bank of the Vézère river. Discovered by Giraux in 1892, the shelter became famous twenty years later “when, engraved and sculpted in relief on the ceiling of the vault, a superb life-size fish was noticed.

It is a “becquart” salmon, its jaw pulled back, characteristic of a male exhausted from spawning. The Gravettian dating (around 25,000 B.C.) of such a rare subject would make it one of the first representations of a fish ever known. This salmon was part of a more complex general composition. Notably we can see below the fist a hatched rectangle seven lines deep… In front there was perhaps the front half of a horse and various more enigmatic engravings.

Additionally, a negative handprint, painted in black, was discovered in 1975. Perhaps the ceiling was entirely painted in black and red, of which only a few traces remain in the cracks of the rock.