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Historical evolution

This area is known for its historic journey with the castle but also protohistory, with ancient walls, mounds or small graves of the Iron Age and a Merovingian cemetery of the early Middle Ages.

Two other burial caves have delivered us human bones dating from the Neolithic.

La Roche-Courbon is a major site of Charente Maritime, as small limestone blocks were discovered in the caves, unique artefacts of this kind in our region.

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These figures represent the theoretical dates of these periods, the caves have not seen continuous occupation. The excavations' result is shown in the prehistoric museum.

The first excavations were carried out in 1880 by Eugene and Felix Lemarié Bossé, teachers in Saint-Porchaire. In 1924 Marcel Clouet, a teacher from Saintes, discovered three engraved limestone slabs : Two decorated with mammoth and another one with a horse head in duck bill shape. These pads are attributed to the Aurignacian or Gravettian times placing an age range between - 30,000 to - 19,000 years.

In 1939 Marcel Clouet search the cave known as "the castle", located in the rocky slab under the castle and discovers another prehistoric cave attributed to the Mousterian and Aurignacian.

In 1949 Paul Chénereau, the time owner, asks Marcel Clouet and Pierre Geay to create a prehistoric museum in the castle keep. In 1956 and 1957 Pierre Geay, Robert and Camille Colle Gabet discover in Bouil-Blue cave a burial they attribute to the Aurignacian's period until 1995, when the owner Jacques Badois decided to make a radiometric carbon 14 which gave a result of 1870 years. We are in the presence of a Gallo-Roman skeleton.

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In 2005 Yves Olivet and Thierry Le Roux discovered a new engraved slab in the Triangle cave. This limestone block is engraved with an equine head topped with triangles.

In 2008 the idea of restructuring the museum by Yves Olivet and Thierry Le Roux was borned. The work will be completed in 2012 with a team of volunteers and the association of friends : AMICOUR

In 2016 Yves Olivet designed the "Prehistory" path with the reconstruction of prehistoric camps with the help of volunteers and owners.
He will unfortunately die a few days before its inauguration.

Prehistoric Museum

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The first floor "Henry de Lestrange room" offers an introduction to prehistory from 2 million years ago with Homo habilis until the Bronze Age.

A 20mn video relates the principal periods of prehistory and significant discoveries made on the estate of La Roche Courbon, which is one of the richest site in Charente-Maritime. Yves Olivet, ancient curator of the museum, gives his testimony about his knowledge and discovery of the limestone’s pieces unique in our area.

The second level, "Paul Chénereau room / Jacques Badois" is dedicated to the prehistory of Charente-Maritime, the municipality of Saint-Porchaire and the caves of the area as well as a permanent exhibition on the history of prehistory.

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