Abilly, L'Archéolab Indre-et-Loire
The Archeolab is an archaeological site museum which presents archaeological dig (technics and methods) and laboratory analytics (results and interpretation).
A ground reconstruction of a habitat-workshop from the end of the Neolithic age is also presented.
During the guided tours led by archaeologists, visitors have to be aware of conservation and preservation of archaeological sites. Associated to this visit, educational workshops enable to talk about daily life of Paleolithic and Neolithic men. For those interested in Prehistory, for teachers and their pupils, which really want to understand and how dig a prehistoric site, how reconstitute moments of life of prehistoric men, the Archeolab visit is an essential complement to the visit of the Prehistory Museum of Le Grand-Pressigny.
The Roc-aux-Sorciers Magdalenian Frieze Museum
The sculpted frieze on the walls of the rock shelter of Roc-aux-Sorciers was discovered in 1950. The work of Palaeolithic hunters around 15000 BC, this extraordinary frieze, featuring animals and human figures carved in relief, is not open to the public for conservation reasons.
In 2008, a Museum was opened in order to allow everyone discover this major Prehistoric work. A resin casting of the original carving, with didactic panels, facilitates the discovery of all the details. Displayed outdoors, it has exactly the same orientation and luminosity as the original frieze. Inside, in the half-light, an audio-visual creation provides an animated and colour sequence of the whole frieze.
In addition, the village of Angles-sur-l'Anglin is one of the most beautiful villages in France, with the ruins of a medieval château dominating the Anglin River.
Muséegallo-romain (Gallo-Roman Museum)
Located a few kilometres away from the Abbey Church of Saint-Savin and bringing together the remains of discoveries made on the Gallo-Roman site near Le Gué-de-Sciaux, the archaeological deposit in Antigny has conserved excellent objects from the religious constructions built during the heyday of Roman Gaul, in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. Paradoxically, the destruction of the shrine has meant that architectural elements and sculptures of a rare quality could be preserved.
The nearby church of Notre-Dame has a collection of 12th-15th-century paintings that had remained hidden by successive coats of distemper for a long time. Rediscovered in the 1990s and restored in 2006, they are an excellent evocation of the churches of the Poitiers area in the Middle Ages.
Megalithic collections and Musée des Tumulus (Tumulus Museum)
The Bougon tumuli represent one the largest megalithic collections of the Atlantic front. These graves, in dry stone and megalithic slabs, set in gigantic mounds of earth and stone, date from the Neolithic period. Built around 4500 BC, or over 1,000 years before the pyramids of Egypt, they were used as tombs for almost 2,000 years. Discovered in the 19th century, they were almost entirely excavated between 1968 and 1987.
The Tumulus Museum, inaugurated in 1993, is located very close to these dolmens. Thanks to the collections resulting from the excavations carried out in the necropolis and in the region, and to reconstructions and models, visitors are plunged into the universe of these master-builder people.
An outdoor educational circuit completes the visit of the collections and the megalithic site.
Church, baptistry, necropolis and museum
Muséearchéologique de Civaux (Archeological Museum of Civaux)
The history of Civaux dates back to Prehistoric times but it was during the Roman and, in particular, Merovingian eras (5th–8th century AD) that the site grew in size. An immense necropolis, which, in the past, contained between 7,000 and 15,000 sarcophagi, dates from this time. Despite significant reuse, over a hundred sarcophagi are still in place in the middle of the current tombs. Many covers were reused in order to form the enclosing wall of the cemetery.
The grave goods discovered in the graves are on display in the Museum inaugurated in 2004. Collections covering the Prehistoric age through to the end of the Middle Ages are well served by a high-quality didactic display.
Also dating back to the Merovingian era, and adjoining the Museum, are a baptistry (5th–7th century) built on a Roman shrine and the church of Saints Gervais and Protais (with a 5th-century Christian stele, a 6th-century apse, a 10th-century nave and 11th-century sculpted capitals).
MuséeArchéologique de Martizay (MartizayArchaeological Museum)
Renovated and re-opened to the public since July 2009, this Museum’s exhibitions include prehistoric collections and, above all, Gallo-Roman remains, in particular, rare layers of paint and Merovingian artefacts found during archaeological excavations carried out by the town.
Although Touraine is not comparable to Brittany as a megalithic area, visiting the most accessible monuments will let you evoke one of the most well-known aspects of the Neolithic age: megalithic burial architecture.
Apart from that of Saint-Antoine-du-Rocher, which resembles the very impressive monuments of Angers, the dolmens of the Touraine area are relatively small. The disappearance of the tumuli, which originally covered these graves, reveals a skeleton of stones of different shapes and sizes.
Excavated in the 19th century, they are difficult to date with precision. The rare grave goods preserved, the excavation notes and their architecture would place them at the end of the Neolithic period, in the 3rd and 4th millennia.
A must-see near Le Grand-Pressigny, the La Pierre Chaude dolmen in Paulmy (Indre-et-Loire) is on the side of the D100 road, between Le Châtelier and Neuilly-le-Brignon.
La Pierre percée of Draché is one of the rare regional menhirs to exceed 3 metres in height.
Many legends associated with these monuments evoke Gargantua, a giant who could throw these huge slabs around as if they were just pebbles.
Musée Sainte Croix (Sainte Croix Museum)
Poitiers is a great example of a city rich with age-old art and history.
A jewel of Roman art, the recently restored church of Notre-Dame-la-Grande holds sway over the city’s historic heart. The Saint-Jean baptistry is one of Christendom’s oldest and houses a baptismal pool and 11th- and 12th-century Romanesque paintings.
A fine example of contemporary architecture, the Sainte Croix Museum exhibits, in particular, Palaeolithic objets d’art and finery, Neolithic grave goods and exceptional Gallo-Roman and medieval artefacts. The medieval sculptures and epitaphs from the hypogeum of Dunes, closed to the public for restoration, evoke this grave, remarkable evidence of Merovingian art and architecture (6th-9th centuries).
The Museum also houses a beautiful and original collection of 19th- and 20th-century sculptures and paintings, including major works from Camille Claudel.
Muséearchéologiqued'Argentomagus (Argentomagus Archaeological Museum)
The Gallo-Roman town of Argentomagus succeeded a Gallic oppidumin the city of Bituriges Cubes. Built according to an orthogonal design, it acquired monumental constructions in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD: temples, a theatre, a fountain, an amphitheatre, and thermal baths.
The ruins of the ancient agglomeration, evoked as early as the 16th century, would not be subject to archaeological excavation until the 19th century. Research is still ongoing every summer.
Many remnants of the town are still visible and may be visited by the public, who can follow a marked path with information panels. Directly established above part of these urban remains, the Museum presents all aspects of the life and death of the Gallo-Romans of Argentomagus.
In addition, with the first-class Prehistoric collections on display, visitors can go back in time to the region’s first occupants, thousands of years ago.
Yzeures-sur-Creuse, Musée Minerve Indre-et-Loire
MuséeMinerve (Minerve Museum)
It was in 1895, during the demolition of the Yzeures church, which was considered too dangerous, that several fragments of a 3rd-century Gallo-Roman monument dedicated to Jupiter were discovered. The 80 blocks of stone from this sculpted monument have been on public display in the Minerve Museum since 1972.
The Minerve Museum is 20 km south of Le Grand-Pressigny (on the D60 towards Barrou, then the D750 towards Le Blanc).