Randa Ardesca - Archéosite d'Ardèche is an open-air museum which was founded in 2013 in the French department of Ardèche, and open to the public since 2014. It was founded by professionals of Living History, crafts, culture and communication, willing to have a permanent place to conduct experiments, and bring living history to the eye of the public to share their work and passion. Their project was to introduce to the public historical periods which are rarely, if ever presented in the other open-air musems of south-eastern France, namely the Late Neolithic/Chalcolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Early Middle Ages, all based on archaeological records from the surrounding area. The project is now carried by a group of 16 co-presidents surrounded by volunteers.
The site's constructions are built with historical materials and techniques, most of the time in front of the public. Regularly, the site offers to anyone who wishes to partake in the adventure the occasion to join the building team, may they be experienced in historical construction or complete neophytes. These are crucial times of the year for us, allowing us to share the experience acquired over the course of the years, and to learn from people with different skillsets. This also make Randa Ardesca a very evolutive site, having each year something new to show the public.
The first project was to build a Gallo-Roman glass workshop, which is the main pole of experiments from the site since its construction. At the moment, the work of the team is focused on the 5th c. BC. Iron Age fortified gallic settlement, with the edification of housing and workshops, including a pottery workshop and an upcoming forge. These workshops are presented according to the principles of living history by organizers and craftspeople in historical costume. In the meantime, a dolmen is in construction in partnership with the museum of the Cité de la Préshitoire d'Orgnac.
Randa Ardesca hosts a local and historical brewing festival each year, during which experimental archaeologists are experimenting different historical brewing methods. This is also the occasion for local archaeologists to present their work through conferences. Our project is to show to the public differents periods since Neolithic period until the tenth century AD of Ardèche in an educational and funny way. It is also to create a place to meet local volunteers, national and international volunteers, researchers/archaeologists and craftspeople to build together and experiment around the archaeology of Ardèche.
We create exchanges around Ardèche archaeology in welcoming volunteers, students and volunteers:
- A project to create links between the public and researchers thanks to a popularization approach.
- To build links with various actors of the territory: museums, interpretives centers, locals communities.
- To create commons projects on a partnership and not in competition with others surrounding museums organisation.
- The choice to host volunteers, students, researchers, craftspeople to share knowledge and technicals skills in order to co-construct the project: buildings, experimentation projects ... with adult education principles.
- To create links in a rural area.
- To offer craftspeople and local producers a place for distribution of their products.