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A school trip to America


Visiting Lascaux
Colin Renfrew Archaeologist
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We had another trip to the Continent a few years later, in 1953, and my father was a great reader and I was very fascinated by the issue of the painted caves, which is your subject, Paul, and so we had the good experience of going to see Lascaux. And in those days if you went to see Lascaux you were shown round by one of the people who'd discovered it as a schoolboy only a few years before, early in the war years. And to see these extraordinary animals painted on the walls, it was romantic and mysterious, just as it still is rather romantic and mysterious. And then we went on to see some of the - the other painted caves, Font de Gaume, Les Combarelles, and then we went on down to Altamira, which I think my father must have known about, and heard again about the story of the discovery of Altamira. And so that was really an interesting experience and one which has always stayed with me. I haven't been back to Lascaux. I've seen, and, in fact, you've shown us painted caves and took us to Altamira not so very long ago again, but Lascaux made a huge impression.

Baron Renfrew of Kaimsthorn is a British archaeologist known for his work on the dispersal of the Proto-Indo-Europeans and the prehistory of PIE languages. He has been Disney Professor of Archaeology at Cambridge as well as Master of Jesus College and Director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.

Listeners: Paul Bahn

Paul Bahn studied archaeology at Cambridge where he did his doctoral thesis on the prehistory of the French Pyrenees. He is now Britain's foremost specialist on Ice Age art and on Easter Island, and led the team which discovered Britain's first Ice Age cave art at Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire, in 2003. He has authored and edited numerous books, including Journey Through the Ice Age, The Enigmas of Easter Island, Mammoths, The Cambridge Illustrated History of Prehistoric Art, and, with Colin Renfrew, Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice which was published in its 5th edition in 2008.

Duration: 1 minute, 21 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2008

Date story went live: 14 May 2009