Archeologist Isabelle Castanet greeted us and showed us the shelter of Castel-Merle. The shelter was at the edge of a small green valley. This shelter was the first one that really gave me the perspective of living/working in a rock shelter. While the opening was bricked and fenced, the area was open enough to get the real feel of being there.
We stayed at Castel-Merle for some demonstrations and a “prehistoric lunch”. We had a spear throwing contest for our lunch. A young man in the group was able to spear two reindeer. I got a reindeer tail for my group. Good thing we could share! There was a fantastic demonstration of creating a bifaced tool from a rock – took about 20 minutes. Then a fire making demonstration. It all looked so easy, but there was a lot of knowledge required. Fire making requires the knowledge of all the steps, especially getting the tiny ember going.
We had a neanderthal lunch at the site: duck, hardboiled quail eggs, greens salad, terracotta baked Salmon, grilled duck, walnut wine, and more.
After lunch we went to Roc de Marsal, which has been excavated by our Mr. Harold Dibble, among others. The site is small but gave us an excellent perspective of how the excavations are done. Harold described the tags and markers on the site, and how they went about the excavations.