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The later Gravettian occupation, which occurred 25,000 to 27,000 years ago, left little but a child's footprints, the charred remains of ancient hearths, and carbon smoke stains from torches that lit the caves.
The footprints may be the oldest human footprints that can be dated accurately.
The cave is situated above the previous course of the Ardèche River before the Pont d'Arc opened up.
The gorges of the Ardèche region are the site of numerous caves, many of them having some geological or archaeological importance.
Abstract markings—lines and dots—are found throughout the cave.
A study published in 2016 using additional 88 radiocarbon dates showed two periods of habitation, one 37,000 to 33,500 years ago and the second from 31,000 to 28,000 years ago with most of the black drawings dating to the earlier period.Based on radiocarbon dating, the cave appears to have been used by humans during two distinct periods: the Aurignacian and the Gravettian.Most of the artwork dates to the earlier, Aurignacian, era (30,000 to 32,000 years ago).This combination of subjects has led some students of prehistoric art and cultures to believe that there was a ritual, shamanic, or magical aspect to these paintings.One drawing, later overlaid with a sketch of a deer, is reminiscent of a volcano spewing lava, similar to the regional volcanoes that were active at the time.
After the child's visit to the cave, evidence suggests that due to a landslide which covered its historical entrance, the cave remained untouched until it was discovered in 1994.