Located at the archaeological site of the cave of Ramioul, in the heart of a forest, the Préhistomuseum extends over 30 hectares. Situated in the valley of the Meuse, it forms the link between the numerous archaeological sites which surround this river: from Engis, where the first bones of Neanderthals in the world (1829) were discovered, to the splendid caves of Goyet.
With its collections originating from the most prestigious sites of Walloon prehistory, it is one of the largest Prehistory museums in Europe. It is also original with 12 extraordinary experience-exhibitions : the barefoot path, the research center, the prehistoric hunting paths or the vegetal labyrinth of the evolution ...
The Préhistomuseum offers culture and adventure in one. Opening 7 February 2016!
A 30 hectare museum
The Préhistomuseum is an archaeological museum of a new type. It forges interactive links between nature, heritage, the scientific study of these two, and the visitors. The museum examines the past to understand the present and to consider the future of mankind. Thanks to the original, attractive and pedagogical experience-enactments , the museum meets 4 objectives : to provide pleasure, to generate knowledge about prehistory, to learn how to generate such knowledge and to learn how to act and react. The museum has been designed not only to incite the visitor to observe prehistory from the outside, but also to experience it with his 5 senses and with the related emotions.
To accomplish this, the museum is not confined in a building preserving archaeological collections. It includes a discovery trail through 30 hectares of forest, opening, through unique experiences, different doors to the past. Every visitor maps out his own path, plans his own trip through time, picturing another image of Prehistory.
Journey into nature
Nature is indissolubly linked to Prehistory. Walking in the open air, smelling the earth, listening to the forest and observing the animals: this was the daily life of our ancestors. The Préhistomuseum invites to three experiences to vividly feel the ties which unite Man with Nature.
The barefoot path
Over a multiform 2 km path the visitor is reinvigorated. Step by step, the walk incites to a sensorial exploration of the relations between Man and Nature. Which footprints have prehistoric men, women and children left behind for us? And which footprints will we leave behind for future generations?
The paths of prehistoric hunting
The visitor becomes hunter again setting off for an encounter with the animals of the last glacial and moderate periods of Prehistory.
A reconstructed ice-steppe and a dense forest are two areas for observation prehistoric biotopes, full with realistic 3D sculptured-images of prehistoric animals. Hunting with a bow or a throwing stick the visitor experiences the sensations of hunter societies.
The Animals and plants of the first farmers
Observing the earliest animals and plants domesticated by mankind constitutes the theme of the third Natural experience of the museum. Working with agricultural tools, the visitor gets to understand the mechanisms of prehistoric agriculture and cattle-breeding. Amidst nature, the past tells the story of the emerging world of the farmer-breeder, of the Neolithic revolution, which forever reversed the relationship between Man and Nature.
In the heart of science
The collections and scientific research are the foundations of our knowledge of Prehistory. Through its international research-programs, the museum takes the visitors into places of a kind usually closed to them, drawing them in its experiments and changing their vision about the development of science.
The department of conservation, study and documentation
The Préhistomuseum allows the exclusive discovery of the hidden side of "the Iceberg" of the Museum: the department of conservation, study and documentation. Visitors can penetrate a real workspace. In real time, they witness the treatment of the collections and object storage. This is the place of an interactive discovery of the duties associated with archaeology.
The laboratory of experimental archaeology
In the laboratory, the visitors meet prehistorians in the process of their investigations. They learn to understand in an experimental setting the techniques of yesterday's workmen. The visitors even take part in real reconstruction experiments.
The vegetal labyrinth of Evolution
The genealogical tree of mankind is complex and difficult to understand. Rather than presenting a long essay, the museum unfolds a real labyrinth to allow the visitor to lose himself in human evolution. Here he vividly experiences 7 millions of years of evolution, coming to a better understanding of the relativity of science and its theories.
Across the heritage
Four different and complementary experiments are devoted to the question of heritage. The protected and displayed prehistoric remains evoke wonder and reflection upon Mankind and its heritage. This heritage in all its forms is unveiled in its richness and complexity.
The archaeological site
The cave of Ramioul, an exceptional patrimonial site, constitutes the roots of the Préhistomuseum. It engages in a dialogue between excavation sites, archaeological material and the wider public. Being still in its natural condition, it reveals itself in the dark to deliver its timeless and human history.
The walk around the cave
Around the cave the fauna and flora hide an industrial past. The walk invites the visitor to trace human activities in a forest with a wild appearance. Where Nature has reclaimed its rights, the visitors decipher the landscape. The range between research investigations and scientific discovery here evokes the very question of what heritage is.
The best of the collections
Through real and remarkable artifacts from sites in Wallonia, the evolution of human behavior becomes visible. Going far beyond questions of chronology and value judgment, the exhibition demonstrates the ties which unite us with prehistoric man. Put on display and choreographed, the traces become a testimony of human nature.
Ephemeral modern art
The works of the modern artist Werner Moron leading the visitors to the limits of art constitute an ephemeral heritage. The artist surprises and instigates to action. His nomadic and temporal works evoke the contradictions of society and ask questions going back to days long past.
In archaeological workshops, archaeologists develop a child's eye. In the heart of the restaurant, Nature is being eaten. With a fully archaeo-compatible menu, visitors taste the entire history of the food. Fifteen workshops are spread out over the 30 hectares of the museum. Guided by archaeologists, they transform the visitors into flint knappers, prehistoric painters, engravers, sculptors, fire makers, artisans ... Together, the visitors engage in the daily life of prehistoric men and women fathom their abilities. Prehistory comes alive again in their hands.