The term 'wall art' traditionally refers to the full range of graphic expression found on the walls of caves, in rock shelters and on boulders. Underground art is unique and specific to Palaeolithic Europe. Currently, we know of nearly three hundred decorated caves and shelters, mostly located in France, Italy and Spain. This is an exceptional concentration in the history of human graphic expression, particularly in the Magdalenian, a period that witnessed remarkable growth in the number of decorated caves.
The meaning of the works, which today eludes us, is likely related to the function of the sites they adorn (occupations, "sanctuaries"). To create them, Palaeolithic people used various techniques that they sometimes combined: fine and deep engraving, painting and sculpture. The support was critical, as volumes and shapes were often exploited in the composition of the works.
Habitats are rarely associated with rock art during the Prehistoric period. Rock shelters were the preferred setting for this association, as they offering both protection and exposure to sunlight. However, contrary to popular belief, deep cave dwelling was exceptional. The combination of occupancy levels and decorated walls make rock shelters critical to our understanding of the historical and cultural context of European Palaeolithic cave art.