Hilary Davies at Literary Review:
Who are we? Where do we come from? Who or what were the people, the land, the gods who made us? These questions have perplexed and haunted us ever since human beings evolved.
One of the heartlands of our understanding of Upper Palaeolithic man is the southwest of France – more precisely, the courses of the Vézère, Dordogne, Lot and Aveyron and their tributaries. There are several reasons for the density of ancient sites in this region: the plentiful supply of water, which attracted both humans and game animals between thirty thousand and ten thousand years ago; the high plains through which these rivers run, which at that time formed steppe, providing grassland for the untold numbers of reindeer and other migratory animals that moved across them seasonally; and the limestone bedrock through which over millennia the waters have carved enormous and complex underground cave systems. I