Roc de Marsal is a small cave, or perhaps two
interconnecting caves, situated in a cliff face some 80 meters above a
small tributary valley (la Retonde) of the Vézère river, just south of Les
Eyzies. The cave looks out toward the southwest and is located about 180
meters above sea level.
Excavation at the site was first started with a small test pit in 1953 by
an amateur, Jean Lafille, who continued work there until his death in
1971. All total, about 27 square meters of the site were excavated,
leaving about half of it intact. However, because of the use of
perpendicular trenches through the site, there are three blocks of
sediment that have no stratigraphic connection to each other. Lafille’s
excavations were meticulous and well documented, many artifacts measured
in place and many maps and plans, which makes the potential of this
collection all the more important.