Cosquer Cave

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Cosquer cave
Cosquer Cave
cross section with entrance tunnel and current sea level
Cosquer Cave in France
Cosquer Cave in France
Location in France
Cosquer Cave in France
Cosquer Cave in France
Location in France
Location Calanque de Morgiou in Marseille
Region Midi, France
Coordinates 43°12′10″N 5°26′57″E / 43.20278°N 5.44917°E / 43.20278; 5.44917Coordinates: 43°12′10″N 5°26′57″E / 43.20278°N 5.44917°E / 43.20278; 5.44917
Site notes
Excavation dates 1991,
Archaeologists Henri Cosquer

The Cosquer cave is located in the Calanque de Morgiou in Marseille, France, near Cap Morgiou. The entrance to the cave is located 37 m (121 ft) underwater, due to the Holocene sea level rise. The cave contains various prehistoric rock art engravings. It was discovered in 1985 by and named after diver Henri Cosquer, but its existence was not made public until 1991, when three divers became lost in the cave and died.[1]


The cave can now be accessed by divers through a 175 m (574 ft) long tunnel, the entrance of which is located 37 m (121 ft) below sea level, that had risen after the cave was inhabited. During the glacial periods of the Pleistocene, the shore of the Mediterranean sea was situated several kilometers to the South and the sea level up to 100 m (330 ft) below the cave entry.

Prehistoric paintings[edit]

Stencil of human hand, Cosquer Cave, 27,000 years B.P.

Four fifths of the cave, including any cave wall art, were permanently or periodically submerged and destroyed by sea water as 150 instances of cave art remain.[2] including several dozen painting and carvings dating back to the Upper Paleolithic, corresponding to two different phases of occupation of the cave:

  • Older art consisting of 65 hand stencils and other related motifs, dating to 27,000 years BP (the Gravettian Era).
  • Newer art of signs and 177 animals dating to 19,000 years BP (the Solutrean Era), representing both "classical" animals such as bison, ibex, and horses, but also marine animals such as Auks and a man with a seal's head.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cave Art Paintings of the Cosquer Cave". Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  2. ^ "NEWSLETTER OF THE COLORADO ROCK ART ASSOCIATION". Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  3. ^
  • Jean Clottes, Jean Courtin, La grotte Cosquer, Seuil, 1994, ISBN 2-02-019820-7 (French)
  • Jean Clottes, Jean Courtin, Luc Vanrell, Cosquer redécouvert, Seuil, 2005, ISBN 2-02-065550-0 (French)
  • The Cave Beneath the Sea: Paleolithic Images at Cosquer by Jean Clottes and Jean Courtin (1996) Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York ISBN 0-8109-4033-7 English translation by Marilyn Garner from the French edition

External links[edit]