| La Marche - a Stone Age Academy
Superb quality, and crucially important revelations
about life 14,000 years ago are not enough to make the art of La Marche
famous. In fact, it lurks in obscurity. Why? Is it because
establishment does not like certain controversies? La
has been iconoclastic since day one. Its discoverer - Stéphane
Lwoff was the first to
connect La Marche to the perennial issue of advanced prehistoric
My initial digging for information on La Marche was mostly a
frustrating experience. Fortunately, the University of Wisconsin
available for interlibrary loans the long established journal "Bulletin de la Société
which had first published Lwoff's discovery.
This report's copy of the Athena engraving is from this Bulletin. It is
relatively distortion free, unlike examples
found in popular literature. Of interest here is that Lwoff cites
methods used in striving for highest possible precision in copying the
An amateur paleontologist, Léon
Péricard had pioneered the discovery by luring a
professional colleague of his, Stéphane
Lwoff, to the site of La Marche, municipality of
in the scenic Vienne region, some 220 miles south of Paris, as a
likely spot for
Lwoff at the
entrance to the shelter
The rock shelter of La Marche is at the bottom of a
long gently sloping valley, next to the small Petit Moulin river,
whose far banks are
traced by the state highway between Lussac and Montmorillon.
Apparently, in some places
the river tunnels underground for a considerable distance along its
westerly course through the limestone terraine.
It surfaces into the valley near the deep cave Foncerin, and after a
couple of kilometers passes by caves Ermitage, and Fadets. Half a
kilometer downstream, it flows just an elk's leap away from the rock
of La Marche. Just past this spot, the river dives back
and out of further sight.
There, under the rock overhang, which once also hosted a wine
cellar, the two scholars began digging in August of 1937. Soon, they
were rewarded by a treasure trove of paleolithic artifacts - and a
pile of engraved tablets. Realizing that they had found a virtual
Stone-Age gallery, Lwoff wisely summoned top authorities.
Breuil himself was a witness to the excavations from the clearly
But, when Lwoff had presented the La Marche
discovery at the 1941 session of the French Prehistorical
Society, he failed to mention
the site's extensive verification. Without dallying, Lwoff's
colleagues had judged his report for themselves on the spot, and collectively upholding the
the greatest Magdalenian Art discoveries be greeted with
scorn and disbelief, accused Lwoff of brazen fraud.
The art was too modern, too
sophisticated, too good - they said - it was inconceivable that such art
could be the work of Cavemen!
Indeed, La Marche breaks all kinds of Stone-Age art
conventions. Unheard of for the art, La Marche treats us to human
styled as caricatures. Most male faces are clean shaven, but we also
see stylish goatees, and moustaches.
These Magdalenians wore fashionably cut clothes. They had soled and
heeled boots. Lamall0.gif shows an
appendage on Athena's boot, which in all likelihood depicts a real
heel. The attire is
sometimes topped by big hats, often helmet-like.
In demonizing Lwoff, his colleagues re-enacted a
scene from the 1880 Prehistorical
Congress in Lisbon, sixty-one years earlier,
which had been attended by virtually every international authority,
such as Rudolf Virchow,
John Lubbock, and
Emile Cartailhac. This academic event was marred by a virtual
lynching of an innocent victim, the
Spanish magnate don Marcelino de Sautuola. His crime was the discovery
he had made together with his five-years old daughter Maria - of
first of the magnificent Stone-Age art galleries, the Altamira
by one, the outraged authorities at the Lisbon congress bespoke their
indictment, pointing out sophisticated elements in the paintings,
seemed to belie an academically trained hand.
The art was too modern, too
sophisticated, too good - they said - It was inconceivable that such art
could be the work of Cavemen!
The golden spike of the session was driven in by a Spanish archaeologist, who announced
dramatically, how through his own dilligent investigation in the field,
he had learned that just
before the discovery, a certain academic painter had actually
full year at Sautuola's castle Santillana! At that moment the
gathering erupted into catcalls of fraud, shame, and so on.
Forthwith, Sautuola endured public ridicule until his death. Not
long after, it was proven that Altamira's art was at least 16,000
'Sorry, we were wrong.' said the culprit scientists while
wiping Sautuola's honor off the soles of their shoes. - But,
culpable, were scientists wrong in their spontaneus rejection
of the initial
news on both Altamira, and La Marche?
Being privy to the sophisticated geometry behind La Marche and
Nasca, it is my duty to pick up the discarded standards of
academic art. I feel that the savants were right in the first place,
before their ungainly concensus flop.
The art is too modern, too
sophisticated, too good - I say - It is inconceivable that such
art could be the work of Cavemen! :)
The stories of La Marche and Altamira indicate that
if not for overwhelming evidence of antiquity, these magnificent sites would still
be considered bona fide forgeries. Instead, they are now seen as
certified paradoxes, and as such they are shunned by scientists,
and media, and witheld from the public eye.
Unbridled scientific curiosity is
currently suspended in favor of vacuous evasiveness, with regard to La
Marche. Even those, who lave praises upon the simpler Altamira
save a much cooler appraisal for the complex Stone Age engravings
found at other sites, and declare them to be random agglomerations of
simple images. Traces of ochre clay on some tablets gave birth to the
hypothesis that old images had simply been smeared over by a film of
before new images were made. This could have been repeated over and
over. Furthermore, experiments have proven that the fine
from the process of engraving makes fresh lines clearly
contrast to the older lines.
such conjectures ignore similar "agglomerations" of images on the walls
of caves, where nearby suitable surfaces had remained
Besides, if the artists of La Marche did not wish
to create permanent drawings, they could have used washable
paints, instead of the engraving method. But, I have never heard of
undecorated tablets (from which the paints wore
If the artists wanted to permanently etch in the simple images,
and yet, they did not mind the quick disappearance of these images
into other, older lines, then their objective may have been the overall
effect of all the simple, and admittedly masterful, images
Yet another objection that comes to my mind is that if the engravings
were, in general, not treated as worthy of preservation, and the
tablets were to be used over and over, there would have
need to clutter the shelter with 1,500 tablets.. A small stack of
tucked out of the way somewhere in the corner would have sufficed.
Also, the tablets would probably be scraped clean once in a
while, to get rid of the deeper lines. A number of scrapings should
improve the stone's flatness, and invite more engravings. Thus, some
older tablets should be noticeably
It is easier to scrape a tablet clean, or to smear it with a
smooth layer of clay than it is to furnish a new one. And, who
wants the discomfort
of sleeping on stones scattered all over the earthen floor?
fact that there were fifteen-hundred decorated tablets at the small La Marche shelter
strongly suggests a process of accumulation.
The art must have been treated as finished, and perfect. It was primed
for successful survival through ages like so many cave paintings.
What black magic makes scholars unreceptive to such
reasoning, and turns the exquisite panels into a mess in their eyes?
detect an element of Irrationality
the artists of La Marche. How else is one to explain that they would
show great genius in their work -
and then proceed to obscure it by "senseless scribbles"?
What else apart from some "strange madness of self-negation"
drove them to scatter the finished tablets onto the floor, or even into
Let's pause for a moment, and imagine the shelter's space. No bigger
than a living room - an unknown number of burly cavemen work there on
last batch of the fifteen-hundred delicate engravings, which litter the
earthen floor. In contrast, let us recall the difficulties French
profess having with propping these engravings up for display.
What is wrong with the scene?
It would take a lot of time to create all the
tile the 20 square meters of the shelter's floor three times over.
As they just lay there, most works would have been trampled into
So, it is most unlikely that the 1.500 predominantly limestone tablets
(some were quartzite) had littered the shelter's floor in accumulating
debris, and dirt until they were left behind. A whole lot of these
stones, which had survived the vagaries of destiny admirably well,
gives evidence of having had been in storage instead. The tablets
strewn (arranged) around the shelter at the last moment. High quality
limestone, and quartz do not take well to trampling,
but they survive moisture in the ground very well. They are perfect for
river bank sites like La Marche. This fosters my impression that the
scene has been carefully staged.
Too Good to Be True (For the last time)
Why do critics misinterpret ancient
Science-Art? _ Should the engravings' complexity be viewed
as intentional, it
would also have to be viewed as the result of superior skills.
Since I have only a few reproductions of engravings from
La Marche in my possession, I must have gazed at those a great
more than others. In this case, familiarity breeds admiration, as
so often happens with great art. The chaos in the engravings is
illusory, and due to overloaded senses. The
engravings are Science-Art..