Tested in 1938 and first excavated in 1976 ahead of the walkway’s construction, the rockshelter has been under investigation by an international group of scientists since 2002. The site documents a critical phase of the Paleolithic, between 43,000 and 36,000 years before present, during which Neandertals disappear and Europe is colonized by anatomically modern humans (Homo Sapiens).
The Neandertal levels have yielded numerous stone tools made on locally available rock types. Red deer is the dominant prey, although boar, horse, bison, bear, hyena and rhinoceros are also documented. Broken mollusks shells indicate they also exploited marine resources.
With the arrival of Homo Sapiens, around 41-42,000 years before present, we find new kinds of tools, notably armatures used in projectile weapons. Beyond local rocs, we also find that they exploited flints procured in an area stretching from the Rhone Valley to the Adriatic. Bone tools including awls and needls also appear at that time, as do personal ornaments made of pierced shell, bone and soft stone beads. Red ochre used as coloting material is also abundant. The most common animal prey are red deer and ibex.
It is also in these levels that a deciduous tooth attributed to Homo Sapiens has been found, representing some of the oldest modern human remains in Europe.