The Abri Cro-Magnon

Les Eyzies de Tayac
The Abri Cro-Magnon

The Abri Cro-Magnon is located at the entrance of the Eyzies coming from Périgueux. It opens at 10am and you can book your tickets online. There are discounts for the students as well as the Pass Découverte which offers discounts for some other sites nearby.

The visit is divided into several rooms then it is completed by an outdoor trail. The first room explains the difference between myths and realities regarding the Cro-Magnon man. The illustrated boards make me aware of the difference between the truth and falsehoods, learning and discovering the Cro-Magnon era in a scientific and fun way. Did they live in a cavern ? Did they always carry a sledgehammer under their arm ? This area removes all the traditional clichés that we can have heard about Prehistoric people. There are some reconstitutions of clothing as well as several objects such as cut flint or female sculptures.

The following room is dedicated to anthropology. It is fully interactive with touch screens and quizzes. The first screen that I activate, exhibits three different skulls. I learn about human evolution through several explanations focusing on the anatomy of the different skulls. I notice through anatomic comparison of the skulls that we are all Cro-Magnon and that he is not that distant from us that we might think from the stereotypes. I learn few facts on his health, his brain and his size. The quizzes are a good way to check my knowledge and it fun to do and I really got into it !

Next comes the third room with a holographic film showing the daily life of Cro-Magnon over the course of a year with his rites, moves etc. It is fascinating and really well made! The fourth room highlights the arrival of the railway as well as the first researchers in the Eyzies. The railway trip scrolls on a screen, I can pretend to be the first prehistoric researchers discovering the cliffs of the Black Perigord. I follow the progression of the travel up to arrive in the office of Louis Lartet who discovered the cave in the 19th century. All the context of the discovery is displayed on the walls. The discovered burial site is represented, the questions asked by the researchers and their answers are on each of the boards.

I am now heading towards a troglodytic room where a film is shown : I discover the evolution of the cave over time. It is a window opening onto the past combining computer generated images and reality. The evolution is in sped up, I feel rather emotional thinking that I am here at the same place as the archaeologist who discovered the burial site. The way the film has been made, I have the impression to really be with them, at the heart of this major discovery !

Outside, there is a reconstitution of a living environment as well as many graves. I now take the sound nature trail with the view point over the Vézère Valley. I walk in the footsteps of our ancestors. What is my next discovery going to be ? The trail goes up hill but it is fully in the shade and the cliff cools down the path down a bit. I discover the flora and the fauna that Cro-Magnon saw while hunting. Sensors are triggered at each of my steps and I can now hear the animal noises which I just read about on the explanation boards. My ears are in step with my feet, the breathing of a bear and other predators. I really do expect to see these animals running out of the bushes, the dense vegetation increases this mystery ! This trail is very pleasant, it is at times fun and educational.

While carrying on walking, I can see a wooden frame which offers a beautiful window over the village. I can see in the distance the Musée National de la Préhistoire (The National Prehistoric Museum) and few cars in the main street. The wooden frame allows me to imagine a living painting, an animated postcard ! Then come the various panoramas on the Vézère Valley, the railway and the cliffs. The view is unobstructed and it is truly beautiful ! Once more, I feel emotional, I am following the steps of my ancestors, did they have the same view ? The importance of this site and this discovery can be felt through each twig, I am breathing the History of the humanity (while avoiding all the dangerous animals !) !!

I go down slowly and I arrive in front of the last screening room dedicated to the cliff settlement. The film lasts 30 minutes. A last information on the hunter-gatherers and my visits ends. I spent approximately one and a half hours to do the whole circuit offered by the Abri Cro-Magnon. I really enjoyed this walk as well as the discoveries that this cave has to offer.

It is an interactive and very educational place ; it allows us to understand the whole of human evolution while breaking some clichés regarding the prehistoric people. The scientific side is complemented by a fun circuit. The whole thing is coherent and combines perfectly ! I recommend this visit to anyone curious as well as Prehistory enthusiasts.

Have a great trip at the Cro-Magnon time !

Labri Cro-Magnon

Labri Cro-Magnon
Labri Cro-Magnon
Labri Cro-Magnon
Labri Cro-Magnon
Labri Cro-Magnon
Labri Cro-Magnon
Labri Cro-Magnon
Labri Cro-Magnon
Labri Cro-Magnon
Labri Cro-Magnon
Labri Cro-Magnon
Labri Cro-Magnon
Labri Cro-Magnon


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