Abri Pataud

Gisement du Pataud - La Croze de Tayac -Abri Movius

Useful Information

Location: Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, between Tayac and Les Eyzies on the left side of the Vézère about 250 m from Abri Cro-Magnon. (44.938000N, 1.012000E)
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System ArchaeologyAbri
Guided tours: D=60 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Hallam L. Movius Jr. (1974): The Abri Pataud Program of the French Upper Paleolithic in Retrospect, in Gordon R. Willey (ed.), Archaeological Researches in Retrospect, Winthrop Publishers, Cambridge, 1974, 296 p. (ISBN 0-87626-044-X).
republished: University Press of America, Washington, 1982 (ISBN 0-8191-2239-4), p. 87-116
Address: Abri Pataud, 24620 Les Eyzies, Tel: +33-553-069246, Fax: +33-553-069246.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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discovered Marcel Pataud.
1899 first written mention by Emile Rivière under the name La Croze de Tayac.
1901 excavation by Emile Rivière.
1902 excavation by Louis Capitan.
1906 excavation by Emile Rivière.
1909 renamed Abri Pataud by Denis Peyrony.
1930 declared a Monument historique.
1953 first systematic examination by Hallam L. Movius from the Harvard University.
1957 purchased by the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle.
1958 Abri Hallam also declared a Monument historique.
1958-1964 six excavation campaigns by Hallam L. Movius.
31-MAR-1990 museum opened to the public.


The Abri Pataud was occupied by Cro-Magnon man between 35,000 and 18,000 BC, during Aurignacian, Périgordian and Solutrean. The abri contains about 10 m of sediments which bear a wealth of remains. One of the main features of the site is the relief of those sediments which can be seen from an elevated trail. The different levels are numbered and explained in detail. Today the inside of the shelter is used as museum for the finds. It was opened by the owner of the abri, the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle, and is a branch of this museum.

This abri was discovered by a local farmer named Marcel Pataud at the end of the 19th century. It was later named after him, but in the first description by Emile Rivière from 1899 it is called La Croze de Tayac. Actually, the rock shelter has two parts, the first is only an overhanging rock, located behind the former barn. It is followed by a much deeper cave, which was once used as a wine cellar by the farmer. This part was inhabited during the Middle Ages, and in the 18th century it was closed with a wall, the door is engraved with the year 1734. Later it was renamed Abri Hallam or Abri Movius in honor of Hallam L. Movius.

The shelter offers two extraordinary artworks. On the ceiling of the Abri Movius rock shelter is a well preserved bas relief of an ibex (Capra ibex) from the Solutrean (17,000 years BC). It was discovered very late in 1986. Today it is inside the museum. The second extraordinary artwork is the so-called Venus of Pataud. It is the silhouette of a woman engraved into a rock. The engraving is from Périgordien VI and is very similar to Venus statuettes found elsewhere.