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Museum of Prehistory opens in the Dordogne

From an article by John Lichfield in the Independent. More at:

The bison turning its head to lick its flank, carved with extraordinary precision from a reindeer antler, might have been made yesterday. Even the animal's tongue, a couple of millimetres long, is visible.

The mint-fresh small carving, among the most celebrated and startlingly beautiful examples of palaeolithic art, was made 12,000 years ago. Since its discovery in the Dordogne, in south-west France, it has rarely been seen in public. It went on permanent, public display this month for the first time.

The "licking bison" has spent most of the past century locked away, appearing only for occasional exhibitions. The pre-history museum at Les Eyzies has made a policy decision to show original artefacts, rather than copies, wherever possible.

The bison se l├ęchant is among 18,000 objects - many never shown before - in France's Museum of Pre-history, which opened this month in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, in the Dordogne. The museum, 20 years in the planning, arguing and making, is a triumph. It is attracting more visitors than can be comfortably handled in the village which calls itself, with some justification, the "capital of pre-history".
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th August 2004ce

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