By Rebecca Morelle and Stuart Denman BBC Newsnight, the Chauvet Cave, France
24 April 2015In the Ardeche gorge in southern France lies one of the most important prehistoric sites ever discovered.
It’s locked away behind a thick metal door, hidden halfway up a towering limestone cliff-face.
Few people have ever been allowed inside, but BBC Newsnight has been granted rare access by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.
We slide through a metal passageway on our backsides, and then tentatively descend a ladder.
It takes a few moments to adjust to the darkness, but our head torches soon reveal that we’ve entered into a vast cave system of geological beauty.
We weave along the narrow metal walkways; stalactites and stalagmites glimmer in the light, sparkling curtains of calcite hang down from above and the floor is awash with the bones of long-dead animals.