Monday, November 21, 2011

St.-Bertrand-de-Comminges and Gargas

On Saturday, we took our last USAC excursion to St.-Bertrand-de-Comminges to see the cathedral and ancient gallo-roman ruins and to the caves of Gargas where there are prehistoric cave paintings from 20,000 BC and onward. It was. SO. cool. I had learned about the gallo-roman era of French history last semester in my French history class so it was so awesome to see all of that firsthand. That's happened a lot on this trip, especially at Versailles which I wrote a paper on, and it's so mind-blowing that I get this great opportunity.

At the caves, we saw ridiculous rock formations and tons of hands painted in negative. We weren't allowd to take photos for preservation reasons but this is a photo I pulled off Google that shows them really well. The red handprints were done by chewing up berries and spitting them around their fingers. How creative, right? The black ones are obsidian (I think?) that they marked with and the white is... Oh I forget. But this site is really interesting and explains everything interesting about Gargas. Apparently the people who made those also lived right next to where they did their paintings, which is really rare, so there's an archaeological dig going on there right now to try and figure out why. The archaeologists have already found jewelry and utensils that the same people used. History is crazy and people are crazy and ancient people were so much more than we probably give them credit for. 
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