Archive for February, 2012
MANKIND has wandered about the Dordogne River valley for over 450,000 years and evidence of early man is everywhere in this region. The first signs of human habitation that date back to that point in time were in the form of flint tools unearthed in the nearby Vézère valley.
Neanderthal man came into this region about 125,000 years ago and, for a period of time, coexisted with their cousins the Cro-Magnons. The Cro-Magnon man discovered here dates back 40,000 years and by around 25,000 years ago supremely realistic animals were being depicted in local caves by them.
I’ve been told that nearly 70% of the world’s prehistoric cave art is to be found in southwestern France and viewing the 25,000 year old paintings at both Pech-Merle & Font-de-Gaume will certainly give you the opportunity of seeing some of the finest examples. Martine and I visit these caves frequently and we are always in awe of these primitive paintings & rock carvings.
Ever hear of the Troglodytes? Nope, not a rock group… rock dwellers! Of pre-historical interest locally are the troglodyte dwellings in Village de la Madelenie. The cliff side shelters at La Madeleine gave its name to the Magdalenian society of hunter gatherers that lived in the area from around 18,000 -10,000BC. These dwellings were continuously lived in from that time and right through the Roman Empire, Middle Ages, and into the 19th century.
We also have the largest collection of Dolmens or portal tombs to be found in France. These are simple megalith structures built by early hunter/ gatherers from stone and there construction dates back over 5,000 years. Today, much mystery still surrounds what rituals they were actually used for and who constructed them.
Plan to visit in 2012? Please check out the delightful accommodations at Le Sud!
Bon Voyage et à bientôt! Jack
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(Our next blog post: dimanche 04 mars 2012)