The history of Grotte de Limousis goes back to the mists of time. It was a shelter under the rock used by both prehistoric men and Cave Bears. It has always been a refuge for men.
In the first chamber, we can view a great number of traces of bears’ claws bearing testimony to the presence of bears here some 12,000 years ago during the Upper Paleolithic, the period corresponding to the last geat ice age. At the beginning of last century, archaeological excavations could establish the occupation of the cave by Neolithic men. Numerous bones and fragments of pieces of pottery proved the presence of prehistoric man on a period of several thousands of years.
The natural entrance seems blocked off and the cave had been forgotten by men for several centuries.
Written documents seem to prove that it was discovered in 1811. However, inscriptions on some walls indicate that the cave was used as a refuge by the king’s peddlers in 1789. Other inscriptions on the walls too seem to prove that it was used as an initiatory journey by a number of explorers. Names of local families regularly have been appearing from generation to generation.
In 1897, the cave was not completely explored and the last chamber to be known was the “Green Lake” chamber.
Another peculiarity of this cave that seems to have experienced the regular intrusion by men for a long time is that it had been exploited by Italian quarry-workers for one year in 1830. They transformed concretions into tables and mantelpieces. Today we can still view traces of this ephemeral exploitation which, fortunately, only concerns the first chamber, the “Columns” chamber.
It was only in 1825 that the very first official visits to the cave took place. People had to go to pay for the entry at the village. Then they were given the keys to open the entrance door.
In 1913, while he was appointed by the mayor to carry out development works in the chamber, Mr Marius Tirafort, a mason, accidentally discovered the continuation of the cave – the Aragonite “Chandelier” – which is so famous today.
In 1935, in compliance with the town council’s decision, the cave was electrified.
In 1973, another phase of works was carried out so as to make the access to the cave easy.
In 2001, SETSN, the company managing the site today, was entrusted with modernising the site with the implementation of electrical standards and setting up of a reception house.
Uploaded: Dec 18, 2015