In the very heart of 400.000 years of the history mankind, the International Center of Prehistory is meant to promote the world heritage of the Vézère Valley with its many major prehistoric sites, among which fifteen are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Center plays the leading role in a major project transforming the territory into the largest prehistoric site in Europe and one of the foremost destinations in the world for Prehistory.
“INSIDE STREET”, RECEPTION
Here is an information and advice platform, where multilingual staff provides the visitors with the best possible access to all the aspects of prehistoric culture in the Vézère Valley.
The permanent exhibition at the Center is devoted to the presentation of the prehistory of the Vezere Valley. It offers original media and innovative scenography for a first approach to prehistory, using hyper-realistic reconstitutions of prehistoric men, short documentaries projected on giant screens, 3 D models and touch-sensitive screens.
Thousands of books, magazines and DVD's about prehistory are available to consult on site. A free access to the Internet is granted in the cyberspace, as well as many digital resources : educational websites, virtual exhibitions, documentary files, online collective library catalog for prehistory...
Several workshops on archaeological sciences are conducted in the learning zone, which features the reconstruction of an archaeological site, field laboratories and study rooms available for groups.
The 230 seat auditorium is dedicated to screenings of films and documentaries and provides a facility for conferences, colloquia and seminars as well as concerts or plays on the theme of prehistory.
In addition, cultural, artistic and educative exhibitions about prehistory and the Vézère Valley are hosted in the temporary exhibit hall.
The site, run by a Public Establishment for Cultural Cooperation (EPCC), covers a total of 16,000m². It includes parking areas, a landscaped park providing access to the Center over a long footbridge crossing the streams, and the building itself. The architect Raphaël Voinchet (Cabinet W. Architectures in Toulouse) conceived a dynamic and innovative building that seems to blend with the cliff face, with its two discrete levels laid out at the foot of this striking natural backdrop. The building does not impose itself on the site, but simply inhabits it, thus respecting the natural environment.