15 November 2007

The caves of Balzi Rossi - 3

Prehistoric man didn't have these steps to walk up, but I'm sure he was considerably more nimble of foot than us. No matter, we are nearly there and we'll be at the entrance to one of the caves soon.

The Balzi Rossi caves are at the southern limit of the hilly massif of the Alps, which extends to the sea along the coast, separating the Italian territory of Liguria to the east from Provence and the basin of the Rhône River in France to the west. This particular topography meant that the caves were en route - as well as a convenient stopping point - for those who travelled through or lived in this region over the millennia. During the Upper Paleolithic period, the obstacle of the Alpine glaciers made a stop at the caves obligatory. Man was present here from the time of the Riss glaciations (which began 240,000 years ago) until the Mesolithic.

The Grotta del Principe yielded a fragment of thin bone belonging to a pre-Neanderthal woman who walked erect. This is the oldest human fragment ever found in Italy.

(I need to say that almost all of the facts I'm giving you in these postings, I gleaned from material at the Museum. A few though are from the Internet. So if any scholar happens upon this blog and I'm in error, do please let me know and I'll be happy to correct it)

I mentioned yesterday I'd talk about the guides. Well, I decided to write a personal - and hopefully slightly humorous account - of my visit to the Balzi Rossi caves, including my take on the guides, and hope to get that up and published in my writing blog tomorrow. When it's done I'll give you the relevant link.

See you tomorrow.


  1. Most interesting post and nice photos.

    going green

  2. I've been avoiding your "cave series", since I'm seriously claustrophobic, but the info and the photos are fascinating!

    Looking forward to your personal account (was your visit before or after lunch?) ;-)

  3. Before lunch, Isabella! In fact I was dying to get home to lunch and the visit went on and on - as you'll read...

  4. Nice series on the caves. And they had ocean views! Looking forward to your personal account.

  5. Glad I took my stilettos off - quite a hike but certainly worth it - Wow!!!!

  6. Jilly this photo is fantastic. The cacti, deep blue sky and red cliff make me feel WARM and do we need it today! It snowed in Aix and Marseilles yesterday - not in Avignon, but I'm freezing and feeling miserable.

    Love the zigzag shadows on the staircase here too!

    I am so enjoying this walk with you, can't wait to see the caves and the view from there...

    Jilly I'm posting a dog today, perhaps you can have a look and tell me what it is?

  7. I love the thought of cave dwellers - troglodytes....a very different world to ours!

    By the way, you get a mention on my Blog today!


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