Water collecting vases

Water gatherers on the Larzac

3000 BC (End of the Neolithic era)

On the Larzac shelf, the men of the Neolithic era are peasants and water gatherers. On land, they cultivate their fields and put their herds out to pasture. Underground, they explore the grottos and the caves hollowed out in the limescale rock, searching for subterranean water. Ingenious, they set out large water gathering vases underneath the stalactites to harvest this water which was so precious and indispensable for life.

 

 

On the Larzac shelf, the men of the Neolithic era are peasants and water gatherers. On land, they cultivate their fields and put their herds out to pasture. Underground, they explore the grottos and the caves hollowed out in the limescale rock, searching for subterranean water. Ingenious, they set out large water gathering vases underneath the stalactites to harvest this water which was so precious and indispensable for life.


The subterranean world, a parallel world!

Today, visiting the grotto is an exceptional adventure, while in the Neolithic era, for the men, women and even children, traversing the caverns was part of their daily life. However, they did need to master certain techniques to get around in the underground environment: travel forwards without bumping yourself, crawl while holding a torch, crossing a chasm. They all therefore were spelunking, but without equipment. In order to make their passage easier, they also didn’t hesitate to improve and change the cavities.

The subterranean environment was not without danger. In these caverns, without light to guide you, you completely lost all bearings. But why take these risks? Why did groups of end of Neolithic era humans use these cavities and choose to establish their villages just above them? To collect a rare commodity on these arid limestone plains: water.

This work belongs to the collection "Man's footprints".

Height: 60cm. Depth: 70 litres

Ceramic

Vase citerne, néolithique © Philippe Martin

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