Visiting the museum
The three large interior spaces of the Museum of Prehistory of Le Grand-Pressigny are dedicated to specific areas in order to allow a flexible and easy visit. The basements are reserved for palaeontology and all aspects of flint while the Gallery shows all the human groups to have successively lived in Touraine over 100,000 years. As for the new building, it presents an illustrated history of the château and various approaches to the practice of archaeology and that discipline’s big questions. Interactive terminals help visitors learn about the heritage of Southern Touraine.Self-service Internet points provide information on various themes, such as the decorated caves of the Palaeolithic period, excavations on land or underwater, who does what in archaeology, or even teaching.
Designed as a museum that finds its entire raison d’être in Le Grand-Pressigny, the new museum emphasises what made the region so unique during the prehistoric period and what explains its renown since the 19th. It thus honours the famous Le Grand-Pressigny flint, looking at its geological, technical, economic and social aspects. The cellars are dedicated to this flint, displaying both its petrographic characteristics and the intelligence of man, who, as of the Middle Palaeolithic period, with Neanderthal man, was able to understand and use its distinctive features. Pride of place is given to the Pressignien phenomenon of the end of the third millennium, characterised by the production of thousands of very long flint blades and their abundant and wide-ranging distribution across Europe. For the very first time, the different stages of this very technical activity, the scale of production and the influence of the Pressignien stonecutting workshops are displayed. This specifically Pressignien industry is placed in its economic and social context of the end of the Neolithic period, when metal replaced stone in weapon and tool making.
The Upper Gallery presents the successive cultures in Touraine since the Middle Palaeolithic period, around 100,000 years ago, until the disappearance of flint in favour of bronze, around 1,000 to 2,000 years BC. The display puts the emphasis on the evolution of the materials used, changes in dwellings or in burial practices, and social and economic evolutions from the Palaeolithic until the Bronze Age. Original objects are put back in the context of a wider civilisation thanks to elaborate iconography and castings illustrating the significant moments in human evolution.
Archaeological methods, legislation, and the big issues regarding the origins of man, of art and of technical progress are evoked by iconographic documents, texts and audio-visual sequences.
The aim of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication is to offer the general public the collections of French Museums Administration. It asked for them to make available on the national database called « Joconde » manuals of the French museum’s collections (Website only in French).
For this reason, The Prehistory Museum of Le Grand-Pressigny is pleased to provide an overview of the exhibited collections, through a sampling of over 150 manuals. It helps you to navigate across more than 200 000 years among objects produced or used in Touraine. In this way, you can discover all the large flint blades from La Creusette hoard (Barrou) showing the know-how of the first masters flint-knappers of Touraine which already made the reputation nearly 5000 years ago ! A few examples of daggers produced from these large flint blades and distributed hundred kilometres away from the South of the region demonstrate movement networks of Men and goods which connected those societies of farmers and breeders.
Previously unseen collections
The museum has many works from the collections of the Association of Friends of the Museum of Prehistory of Le Grand-Pressigny and much of what is on display is previously unseen. Pride of place is given to those archaeological artefacts with the most research behind them and to recent discoveries, thanks to donations and to numerous deposits granted by the State and several museums. The museum thus presents a panorama of contemporary knowledge of regional prehistory, using a didactic, yet not academic, display, which combines original objects, richly illustrated panels, models and multimedia productions.