We visited Paleosite a few years ago and wrote this information then on an old blog site but its just as relevant today.
We had a lovely day out during the school holidays last week. Benjamin had won 2 free childrens tickets at a Christmas market for entry to Paleosite which is just 30 mins drive from our family friendly holiday cottages here at la Grange du Moulin and Les Vallaies, so we decided to go along during the Christmas holidays. Previously we had been when Thomas was just a baby and Benjamin just 3 years old, so they didn’t really get much out of it last time.
In 1979 the partial skeleton of a neanderthal female was discovered in St Cesaire, Charente Maritime. It was found to be approximately 36,000 years old. The young woman had suffered a large wound across her skull but bone growth proves she did not die immediately from the wound and must therefore of been cared for by the group. Tools were also found which had previously been thought to of only been used by the homo sapiens and this discovery is thought to prove co existence of the two species. The discovery was also incredibly important in proving that the neanderthals survived far later than was previously thought.
The site has been developed into a large visitors centre. You are ‘closed in’ to various rooms starting with the description of the ‘big bang’ and the development of our solar system and planet, next there is the ampitheatre of evolution (with headphones and an English translation). The ‘science lab’ is a detailed explanation of the discovery at St Cesaire, again with an English translation – certainly a little in depth for most children, but all the ‘lock ins’ are only for 10 to 15 mins maximum. There is also a good film with an interpretation of how Pierette may of lived which brings it all ‘to life’.
We then went outside where we were able to try our hand at spear throwing which was great fun (although we would of starved in pre historic times !) luckily there is a good restaurant with such things as antelope and wild boar on the menu – large portions, good value and a childrens menu too.
The most fun part is the interactive hall where you can try your hand at arm wrestling a neanderthal man and morph your face and body into a neanderthal child or adult. Afterwards we watched the fire making display – really amazing.
All in all a great day out, really educational and really good fun.
Content by Wendy Blakeman