The three most famous sites of prehistoric cave art in Europe are (in order of age starting with the oldest):
- Chauvet: discovered in 1994 in the southwest of France, the paintings at Chauvet (which is named for one of the discoverers, not the place) are thought to have been done in around 31,000 B. C. The paintings include figures of rhinoceros, lions and wooly mammoths.
- Lascaux: found in 1940 by schoolboys looking for their lost dog, Lascaux is about 21,000 years-old (painted around 19,000 B. C.) The pictures here include bulls, bison and horses and even what are thought to be rough representations of man.
- Altamira: found in 1879 in northern Spain, the paintings at Altamira were at first thought to be frauds. Subsequent scientific analysis, however, dated these cave paintings to about 18,000 B. C. The paintings at Altamira are huge, almost life-sized with some as large as six-feet long. There are paintings of bison, deer, horses and boar.