Socerers' Rock

In this interview, Matilde LUCAS, Director of the Interpretation Center at Sorciers Rock, guides us around the original Roc-aux-Sorciers site, the natural rock shelter adorned with parietal carvings, which is now not open to the public. She tells us about how the site, which is considered of equal importance to the caves at Lascaux, was discovered.

The Roc aux Sorciers is a sculpted rock shelter dating back 15,000 years, which was found in the village of Angles-sur-l’Anglin, about one-and-a-half kilometres from the church. It is located on the right bank of the Anglin river, at the foot of a large limestone cliff, which is the Roc au Sorciers cliff. 15,000 years ago, this site was inhabited by people known as the Magdalenians, who carved on all of the base of the wall. These carvings remained underground for 14,000 years after part of the cliff collapsed and were discovered in the 1950s.
However, before this, Lucien Rousseau, a prehistory enthusiast, conducted an excavation at Angles-sur-l’Anglin from 1927. He decided to come here because he was convinced that he would discover a prehistoric site. It has everything you would expect: a limestone cliff that faces south, which is next to a river, close to a ford and at least 500m from the confluence between the Anglin and Gartempe rivers.
In August 1927, he requested authorisation to excavate and on 4 December of the same year... Bingo! He discovered the first flint tools. He dug a trench and discovered a deposit that he dated back to the Magdalenian period. In 1947, Suzanne Cassou de Saint-Mathurin continued the excavations. But why did she choose to come back to a site that had already been excavated? It was because she participated in the discovery of the La Marche cave, around 40 kilometres from Angles-sur-l’Anglin, where sculpted and engraved boulders were uncovered. At the entrance of this cave were exactly the same tools as those found by Mr Rousseau. Therefore, according to Suzanne de Mathurin, they were the same people who moved between the two sites. She thought that if they were artists at Lussac-les-Châteaux, why not at Angles-sur-l’Anglin as well?
So in 1947, she went to excavate Mr Rousseau’s site, where she found more than 300 carved and sculpted boulders. She then called a friend, Dorothy Garrod, who was the only woman to be awarded a professorship in archaeology in England. In June 1950, they went on to discover a sculpture, not in a cave like in Lussac-les-Châteaux, but on the wall of a rock shelter. The excavations were intense between 1950 and 1964. There they discovered around 30 sculptures along 20 metres, which is in fact the longest sculpted frieze dating from the prehistoric period that has been discovered so far.

Other stages
  • Le Roc aux sorciers

    In this interview, Matilde LUCAS, Director of the Interpretation Center at Sorciers Rock, guides us around the original Roc-aux-Sorciers site, the natural…

  • Le Centre d’interprétation du Roc

    Unconvinced about visiting the Roc-aux-Sorciers Discovery Centre? This video will show you the highlights of what is on show, which will undoubtedly spur…

  • La motte castrale

    It is here, atop this rocky outcrop, that you will find the first iteration of the castle at Angles, in the form of a feudal motte and bailey keep. Let's…

On the same topic
Art and creation