Abri de la Madeleine


The archaeological site Abri de la Madeleine (Magdalene Shelter) is a rock shelter under an overhanging cliff situated near Tursac, in the Dordogne département of the Aquitaine Région of South-Western France. It represents the type site of the Magdalenian culture of the Upper Paleolithic.[1] The Bison Licking Insect Bite, a 20,000 year old carving of exceptional artistic quality, was excavated at the site. The shelter was also occupied during the Middle Ages. The medieval castle of Petit Marsac stands on the top of the cliff just above the shelter.[2] An engraved bone rod from the cave, depicting a lioness licking the opening of either a gigantic human penis or a vulva, shows the first documented act of bestiality.[3]

Abri de la Madeleine
La Madeleine cave, France
La Madeleine rock shelter
location in Aquitaine and France
location in Aquitaine and France
La Madeleine rock shelter location in France
location in Aquitaine and France
location in Aquitaine and France
Abri de la Madeleine (France)
Alternative nameMagdalene rock shelter
Locationnear Tursac, Dordogne département
RegionAquitaine région, southwestern France
Coordinates44°58′05″N 1°01′44″E / 44.96806°N 1.02889°E / 44.96806; 1.02889Coordinates: 44°58′05″N 1°01′44″E / 44.96806°N 1.02889°E / 44.96806; 1.02889
PeriodsUpper Palaeolithic,
Associated withEuropean early modern humans
Site notes
Excavation dates1875
ArchaeologistsÉdouard Lartet, Henry Christy

In 1979, the Abri de la Madeleine was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley because of its unique paleolithic artwork and archeological importance.[4]


Édouard Lartet, financed and helped by the Englishman Henry Christy, were the first systematic excavators of the site, starting in 1863, and published their findings in 1875 under the name of the Age of the Reindeer ("L'âge du renne"). Objects that were found at the la Madeleine site are distributed among a number of museums, including the Muséum de Toulouse, the Musee des Antiquites Nationales, St. Germain-en-Laye and the British Museum.



  1. ^ Brian M. Fagan. "History of Archaeology Before 1900". Oxfordreference. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  2. ^ "What is prehistoric art?". online art center. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  3. ^ Podberscek, Anthony; Beetz, Andrea, eds. (2005). Bestiality and Zoophilia: Sexual Relations with Animals. ISBN 978-1557534125.
  4. ^ "Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Retrieved 9 October 2021.

Further readingEdit

  • Laming-Emperaire, Annette. Origines de l'archéologie préhistorique en France, 1964.

External linksEdit

  • Abri de la Madeleine at The Magalithic Portal.