A Topographical Approach to Parietal
Figures: The Monumental Sculptures of
the Roc-aux-Sorciers (Vienne, France)
Produced in Daylight at the Back of
a Rockshelter and on its Ceiling
The wonderful discovery of parietal figures in the entrance chamber of Church Hole by P. Bahn, P. Pettitt and S. Ripoll in 2003 invites us to study the elements that are linked to the topography of parietal figures made on ceilings in daylight. At Creswell, early excavations had revealed Magdalenian occupations. This association between habitation and parietal figures recalls other contexts, such as for example that of the Roc-aux-Sorciers at Angles-sur-l'Anglin (Vienne, France).
This Magdalenian site contains a sculpted, engraved, and painted parietal assemblage which extends for more than 50 m at the foot of the cliff along the Anglin River. The upstream part of the site, called the Taillebourg cave, and which corresponds to a typical vestibule, yielded numerous decorated blocks that came from a major collapse of the cave's ceiling; their refitting is currently under way. The downstream part, known as the abri Bourdois, which is a shallow overhang, at present contains a sculpted, engraved, and painted frieze, almost 20 m long, located on the vertical wall at the back of the rockshelter. Today the shelter's ceiling has no traces of sculpture or engraving, but nothing confirms or rules out the presence of parietal figures here in the Magdalenian.
I would like to thank the conference organisers most warmly for their invitation to contribute
to this volume and Paul Bahn for the translation of my text.