In ancient caves in the south of France, near Lascaux, four teenage boys on Sept. 12, 1940, discovered 17,000 year old paintings and artifacts made by our early ancestors after they went down into a hole in the ground where some trees had been uprooted by a storm. The cavern they discovered underneath was 65 feet wide and 15 feet tall - and the walls were covered with drawings of animals. They had discovered the Lascaus Cave Paintings, agreed to be the greatest works of prehistoric art ever found.
The hunts were drawn on the wall like a comic strip, from left to right. The paintings were not signed by the artists, but they did leave their own handprints, tracing around their own fingers. The Cave of Lascaux- The Final Photographic Record by Mario Ruspoli extensively examines these treasures of earliest known paintings and the art.
The cave was sealed in 1963 due to deterioration in atmospheric conditions, but television producer Ruspoli went underground two decades later, at the request of the French Ministry of Culture, in order to create a cinematic record. The photographs he took are included in his book.
To allow visitors to see the cave paintings, an exact facsimile called Lascaux II was built close to the original cave. Two galleries have been reproduced, the Bulls Room and the central corridor, that show the majority of the paintings.