Extensive cave system in the valley of the Ariège on the edge of the French Pyrenees, where Palaeolithic paintings were discovered in 1906. Researches over the succeeding century have revealed painted panels on the walls and engravings in the clay floor at intervals along more than 2 km of passages and galleries. The focus is a large gallery known as the Salon Noir with six panels of black animal figures, including bison, horse, ibex, and deer. Analysis shows that at least six different recipes were used for the pigments represented. Stylistically, the paintings belong to the late Magdalenian and were probably made during two main episodes of activity between 12 000 and 11 000 bc. There is no sign of occupation in the cave, although contemporary settlement is known nearby.
J. Clottes, 1995, Les cavernes de Niaux. Paris: Editions du Seuil