The Samara, an environmental and reconstruction park was realised by the Ministry of Culture, the Picardy province and the bank Credit Agricole. It had a predecessor at the Val d’Aisne. One of the reasons to establish this museum was the creation of employment by means of tourism – the Somme area has a long history of unemployment.
The natural environment and the archaeological past both play an equally important role. In the visitor centre, the oldest archaeological finds up to those of the Roman Era are presented while walking through the park (24 hectares), one gets an image of both the cultural and natural wealth of this part of France. The park is situated just below an Iron Age Oppidum “La Chaussée-Tirancourt”.
The goals of the park are threefold:
1. Scientific: everything in the park needs to be founded on scientific research;
2. Cultural: the popularisation of archaeology, focussed on the different social layers and age categories;
3. Educational: the park needs to fit in the French curriculum and complement it.
The park contains a botanic garden with 600 species, an orchard and a swamp. On the archaeological route, there is an exposition hall of 1200 sq. Metres, showing the prehistory of Picardy. The exposition is well situated in order for visitors to obtain some basic knowledge about the reconstructed houses and activities which follow outside.
Walking past that, there is a demonstration zone with three houses: Neolithic, Bronze Age and iron Age.
Demonstrations one can attend are about ship building, weaving and dyeing of textiles, ceramics and metallurgy. The guides working here are trained over a period of three weeks, both in presentation and education as well as in archaeology.
Both the indoor and the outdoor presentations needed maintenance and needed to be brought up to date again with the present state of knowledge. Maybe for those reasons, some of the reconstructed buildings need to be replaced rather than repaired.