On September 12, 1940, the entrance to the Lascaux Cave was discovered by 18 year old Marcel Ravidat.
Ravidat (died in 1995) returned to the scene with three friends, Jacques Marsal, Georges Agnel, and Simon Coencas, and entered the cave via a long shaft.
Therefore, a direct dating of the paintings is not possible.
Despite this, Lascaux was one of the first sites, where radiocarbon dating was used.
Radiocarbon dating of charcoal and other artifacts found in the cave complex has led most scholars to date the Lascaux paintings to c.15,000 BC, making them some of the oldest paintings in the world.
The majority view is that the paintings were completed over a period of a few centuries at most, while others believe the work was carried out over a much longer period.
Radiocarbon dating has long been the method of choice, but it is restricted to organic materials such as bone and charcoal.
) is the setting of a complex of caves near the village of Montignac, in the department of Dordogne in southwestern France.
Over 600 parietal wall paintings decorate the interior walls and ceilings of the cave.
Most of the paintings are realistic images of large animals.
Many of these animals are known from fossil evidence to have lived in the area at the time.