From March 20th to September 8th, discover the beautifully sophisticated paintings and engravings created by our early ancestors in the caves of southern France nearly 20,000 years ago! Come get a rare look inside these now-closed caverns, and find out why they continue to awe and inspire scientists and artists worldwide in Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux, only at The Field Museum. Click here to check out the resources to plan your visit, view amazing exhibition experiences, and learn more about the world's premier example of prehistoric art!

Imagine a teenager fooling around in the woods with three friends and his trusty dog named robot. They clear away some debris and overgrowth and discover, soon to the surprise of the world, that this hole is an opening to an elaborate cave. They descend into the cave with an oil lantern and discover the walls and ceilings are covered with paintings and engravings. This actually happened in southwestern France in 1940. The youngest boy, Marsal, just 14, later said "We saw a cavalcade of animals larger than life painted on the walls and ceilings of the cave. Each animal seemed to be moving." So awed he was at being part of this incredible discovery, Marsal devoted the rest of his life to the cave, working as a chief guide until his death in 1989.

Fast forward to 2013. Chicago's Field Museum hosts the North American premiere of Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux, a new exhibition that was created in France and features high-tech replications of many of the paintings, including some never seen by the public. After the cave paintings were authenticated as being nearly 20,000 years old, daily tours of the Caves of Lascaux took place from 1948 to 1963, with thousands of visitors per year, until they were closed after signs of deterioration began to appear, due to carbon dioxide from the breath of visitors. Pablo Picasso, awed with humility after seeing the paintings, remarked, "We (contemporary artists) have learned nothing."

With my family, I visited the exhibition recently and we were all blown away. This was not man's work, but what adorned the walls and ceilings was. Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux feature full size replicas of the paintings and engravings. They are the most technically accurate reproductions of the cave paintings ever done.

There is an informative film at the exhibit that explains some of the "hows," but despite over 70 years of research, some of the "whys," such as meanings and purposes, remain mysteries. Some who have studied the paintings believe they reflect visions seen by the artists when they were in a trance-like state. Others see the artwork as an account of past hunting successes or part of a ritual to improve future hunting. In addition to re recreated caves, visitors will come face to face with life-like sculptures of our early ancestors who might have inhabited these caves nearly 20,000 year ago reconstructed from found bones. Take a good look at the video to whet your appetite, then go to the exhibit. Take your time when there, read every panel, scrutinize the drawings, observe the cool photos of the young discoverers, marvel at the layout of the cave and look closely at the reproductions of Paleolithic family.

Text the word "CAVES" to 60123 for your chance to win your own Thrill of Discovery! Prize includes a $1,500 travel stipend and two $250 gift cards two of the following retailers of your choice: REI, GARMIN, TIMBERLAND, NORTH FACE, BASS PRO SHOPS, BURTON, COLUMBIA, MACYS OR SUNGLASS HUT!

Click here for Official Rules. All general contest rules apply.

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