Evolution of knowledge through the centuries

Lithographie

Discovered in the 13th century, Osselle Cave’s organized visits would have started at the beginning of the 16th century. Undoubtedly, it is one of the first tourist caves in the world.

Lawyer at the Parliament of Dôle, Me Loïs Gollut (1535 – 1595) gives a very personal description of this cave in her book: “Mémoires historiques de la République Séquanaise”. For the author, the Osselle Cave used to be a gold mine exploited by the Romans, which had been abandoned as soon as it did not offer enough gold anymore. Thus the caves were born…

As for the columns’ formation (count a hundred of them), Gollut formulated an explanation as simple as unique: the water, absorbed by the mountain, dripped drop by drop in these very cold places where they got frozen. Little by little, the ice changed into a more solid matter forming sturdy columns which now easily support the fragile vaults.

Dunod De Charnage, then father Romain Jolly refuted Gollut’s theories. According to them, this phenomenon was primarily due to the drilling of rainwater. As for the cavity, an underground river had dug it.

In the “Journal des Savants” (translated the “Erudites’ Journal”) of September 9 of 1696, Mr De Boisot made, in turn, a curious description about the caves.

The incredible works of our ancestors

As for the columns’ formation (count a hundred of them), Gollut formulated an explanation as simple as unique: the water, absorbed by the mountain, dripped drop by drop in these very cold places where they got frozen. Little by little, the ice changed into a more solid matter forming sturdy columns which now easily support the fragile vaults.

Dunod De Charnage, then father Romain Jolly refuted Gollut’s theories. According to them, this phenomenon was primarily due to the drilling of rainwater. As for the cavity, an underground river had dug it.

In the “Journal des Savants” (translated the “Erudites’ Journal”) of September 9 of 1696, Mr De Boisot made, in turn, a curious description about the caves.

In 1758 and 1753, Mr Lacoré and Mr Toulongeon widened the narrow passages. At the time, they organised festivals, banquets and concerts inside the cave.

During the French Revolution, the dry parts of the cave were used as a refuge to refractory priests, of which Abbot Griès. A clay altar was enough for him to celebrate the mass.

Prehistory

“If the Osselle Cave acquired such an international fame, it is also thanks to its breath-taking paleontological heritage”, P.BOULANGER wrote in the Caverns’ guide.
In 1826 already the great paleontologist BUCKLAND discovered the first cave bear’s complete skeleton. He then transported it back to London for the people amazement, exposed in the British Museum where it still draws audiences today.