Ethni’Cité, Centre de Technologie Primitive (FR)

In 1998, the association called “Nucleus” was founded as a private project, by three archaeologists. They wanted to present Prehistoric artefacts through a new (at that time) light: in comparison with native tribes.

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The site they developed is called Ethni’Cité (Ethni’City) and is located near the Grand-Pressigny Museum, making it easy to combine: the museum has the exhibitions, Ethni’Cité activities. In the beginning, the association only offered archeological animations to the public. But as they are located in caved dwellings, the protection of the local environment became a real goal to the crew.

At present, the public offer is divided into two themes: * The theme of “Prehistory and native tribes” has got a tremendous potential. Indeed, Ethni’Cité can react between past and present about every subject: manhood evolution, wildlife evolution, climate evolution. It is important to explain that the past can teach us great lessons and should not be forgotten. The parallel with native tribes is interesting too because it shows us that some of those ancestral techniques still live today, isn’t it a real sign of their efficiency? Ethni’Cité tries to prove that we can learn from the past, that our ancestors had spirit and that it would be a huge mistake to lose it. * Caved dwellings and their use through the ages.

The troglodyte caves of Ethni’Cité had a real bad reputation because their last occupants were dropouts. After their departure, the association had to strengthen the caves, and try to communicate with neighboring people around. This has been successful. The team create activities about life in old gardens, grandmother’s recipes, forgotten flowers and vegetables and on old crafts. New are activities about the Middle Ages. The project is financed by the department, the region, and European funds. The latter was used for strengthening works on the dwellings.

When exhibitions or new activities are designed, Ethni’Cité uses a mix on general sites (to draw the framework) and more specialised publications (to find attractive or striking developments). Experiments with ceramics production are executed in cooperation with “Laboratoire Archéologique de Tours” and a group from les Beaux-Arts de Tours. These activities permit to develop another relationship with the public. Also, a yearly recurring archaeological festival attracts more professionals presenting and tourists visiting.

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