The issue of access to the walls of the cave was raised from the start of research at Lascaux. The location of certain figures, painted where the cave wall meets the ceiling – a height of between 2.5 and 3.5 metres – particularly in the Hall of the Bulls and the Axial Gallery, but in the Apse as well, was the source of a great many questions.
It was André Glory who provided an initial response. He claimed that he had "identified, on the sides of the Axial Gallery, the stalagmite encrusted placement of interlocked beams that were used in the painting of the Great Black Bull." The publication, directed by Arlette Leroi-Gourhan, devoted a chapter to this theme. The authors take up the same observations, and extend them to the whole of the Axial Gallery, although stating some reservations about their interpretation.
Although it appears that scaffolding was indeed used to work on certain pieces, the idea that it can extrapolated on a wider basis must be carefully considered. The analysis of certain paintings contradicts the proposed interpretations.
More recent observations (between 1989 and 1999) reveal that the creation of a painting or a composition of shapes was in part determined by the shape of the support and that this factor obliged the artist to switch techniques – a form of subjugation to both the natural and formal conditions encountered. Nevertheless, the creation of scaffolding or the use of perches cannot be excluded in certain specific – and rare – cases.