Christine spent her childhood in London and went to the Lycée Français for her education. She then studied art at Saint Martin's School of Art, in London, before crossing over to France to study interior design at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
Her destiny as an artist and interior designer took an unexpected turn when she discovered the cave paintings of the Dordogne and, fascinated by their beauty, felt the urge to know more about Ice Age times. Chance would have it that she and her artist husband had bought an old farm in the middle of the forests bordering the Vézère Valley which turned out to be right next to the well-known Neanderthal burial site of the Roc de Marsal. They soon found themselves uncovering 70 000 year-old Neanderthal tools in their fields and whenever they were digging the vegetable garden! Intrigued by these, Christine saw this as another sign reenforcing her desire to become an archaeologist, and, as soon as her three daughters were old enough, she went back to university to study archaeology, anthropology and prehistory, completing thesis work at both the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Toulouse, and at the University of Bordeaux 1. In the course of her studies she had the privilege of excavating at the nearby La Micoque site (around 330 000 years old), and spent extensive time in the prestigious Musée National de la Préhistoire in Les Eyzies studying and drawing portable art forms on bone objects dating back to around 14 000 years BC.
Over the years the cave art has remained a true passion for her, and exploring all its complexities---the variability of expression and technique and the similarities with contemporary art for instance---offers a unique opportunity to understand something about these ancient societies. The recognition of its sophistication gives us an idea of the remarkable quality of Ice Age cultures, quite in opposition to the all too popular caricatures of so-called 'primitive cave-man'. These fine paintings, engravings and drawings which cover a period of 20 000 years, between around 32 000 and 12 OOO years BC, are a permanent source of inspiration and joy, albeit their unfathomable mystery. And visiting the caves themselves is an unforgettable experience, not only aesthetic but also spiritual, mystical.
For over 30 years now Christine has been organising tours of the authentic caves and giving lectures on Ice Age times to university and museum groups, as well as to the many individual visitors who plan a trip to the Dordogne. Time flies!
For more information about tours, please contact Christine Desdemaines-Hugon:
Telephone: +33 (0) 553 07 26 04 / Fax: +33 (0) 553 03 77 09