This article considers the possibility that the rock shelter at the Abri Castenet may have been marked as unsafe prior to the collapse.

Image: Lynn Fawcett
Image: Lynn Fawcett

Denis Peyrony excavated part of the site and discovered several decorated blocks. One of the blocks stands out because it carries two red lines that could be the character èr , which can mean treacherous. The two lines are next to what could be the character rén , which means people. I would read it as: ‘people unsafe’.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a record of the block’s precise location at the site. The translation is therefore questionable. However, the rock shelter was around 40 metres long. It is possible that the ‘unsafe’ mark would have been placed at another point along the front of the site. I have included the translation here so that archaeologists are aware of that possibility.


Image Credit:

Unsafe: Drawing: Lynn Fawcett, December, 2013: After photo: Raphaëlle Bourrillon, 2012: Castenet, Block 6: Abri Castenet Photo Essay, p. 5, Animal Representations at Abri Castenet: K. Kris Hirst: http://archaeology.about.com/od/upperpaleolithic/ss/Abri-Castanet-Photo-Essay_5.htm: Accessed: 9 December 2013