The east side of the Vallon de Castel-Merle with Abri Blanchard in the distance and Abri Castanet to the immediate right. Abri Castanet is the site of what seem to be the oldest rock carvings in Europe.
A female sex organ carved in bas-relief at Abri Castanet
A partial drawing of a horse outlined in black and painted red at Abri Castanet in France.
A carved image of a vulva from Abri Castanet.
Abri Castanet Vulva
Images of female genitalia predominate at Abri Castanet.
Female Genitalia Carving
A vulva carving associated with other, unidentifiable carvings.
Researchers aren't sure what animal an ancient artist was trying to draw - it could be a bison, or perhaps a horse.
One of the many vulva carvings at Abri Castanet, France.
The excavation of an ancient firepit at Abri Castanet. The carvings were done on the ceiling of a rock shelter that collapsed soon after.
Two firepits at Abri Castanet.
A view of the excavation site at Castanet. The central sector has not yet been excavated, while the southern sector has been explored since 1995.
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Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.