The Musée des Temps Barbares (museum of the Dark Ages) in Marle focuses on the Merovingian Era. The museum is situated in the Aisne area and has both an indoor museum in an old watermill and a vast outdoor archaeological park with an enormous amount of reconstructed small houses.
Directly outside the watermill lies a small Merovingian farmstead, followed a bit further away by a Frankish village and a Merovingian necropolis. The village has both larger dwellings and many outbuildings like huts, workshops and store houses. The museum depends on the local municipality (“Ville de Marle”) but is being run by an association.
The indoor museum opened in 1991, the farmstead in 1993 and the larger village in 2005. The houses are going back on two specific excavations near Marle (the farmstead of the 6th – 7th century AD is from Goudelancourt les Pierrepont, the Frankish village is form the 6th century AD sites Juvincourt & Damary in Ainse. The indoor museum was financed by the municipality, the farmstead by the bank “Crédit Agricole” and the Frankish village by EU funds, the region, the department and the Municipailty of Marle. The present day director is archaeologist who also excavated some of the sites which are reconstructed here.
There are no experiments done, the Museum is famous for its living history and demonstrations at events. The most colourful, the “Merovingian days”, really do transport the visitor into another world.