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The Paleolithic: glacial period, characterized by the presence, in Périgord, of reindeer and mammoths, whose traces are found in the paintings and engravings of some famous caves of the department (Rouffignac, Lascaux, etc.).
In this period, the prehistoric men (whose traces date back to more than 400,000 years) were living at the bottom of the calcareous cliffs. That is why the main prehistoric sites of the Paleolithic are split between the valleys of the Vézère and of the Dordogne.
The Neolithic (3,000 years BC) : corresponds to the settlement of man and to the development of agriculture with the apparition of metal working (copper, bronze, iron).
They are richly decorated of realistic and symbolic paintings of bison, horses, deers, dating from the Paleolithic period, about 18,000 years BC. The caves of Lascaux in Perigord Dordogne located near Montignac, in Dordogne, were discovered in 1940. The opening to tourists of the caves of Lascaux leading to the deterioration of the paintings, they were closed in 1963.
A replication of the caves was made and opened to public in 1983. The cave of Lascaux having been closed to the public, a copy, located at Montignac, at 200m from the original cave, allows the visit of two galleries : The Hall of Bulls and the Axial Branch. The caves of Lascaux are at 75km from the Le Moulin de David campsite.
Located 60km from the Le Moulin de David campsite, between Le Bugue and Montignac -Lascaux, the town of les Eyzies deserves well its nickname of world's capital of prehistory. It groups together on its territory the majority of prehistoric caves and shelters where are found the portrayals left by the Cro-Magnons (our direct ancestor Homo Sapiens). Besides, the shelter where were discovered the first graves of Cro-Magnons is situated at the heart of Les Eyzies. To be noted, the cave of Font de Gaume which is one of the rare original adorned caves still open to the public.
The National Museum of Prehistory proposes a path for the discovery of the most ancient traces left by Man. Tools of stone, art objects (bone, ivory), life-size reconstitution of prehistoric Men and vanished animals allowing to understand the evolution of societies since 400.000 years, are highlighted in a contemporary architecture.
Midway between Les Eyzies and Montignac, at less than one hour of the Le Moulin de David campsite, it is in one of the most beautiful landscapes of Périgord that rises sheer above the Vézère the enormous cliff of La Roque Saint-Christophe. This true calcareous wall 1km long and 80m high, incessantly undermined by the river and the frost has become itself hollow with an abundance of rock shelters and long terraces with impressive overhangs.
These natural cavities have been occupied by the Prehistoric Man (-55,000 years) then modified to become a fort and a town in the Middle Ages and till the end of the Renaissance. At world level, few troglodytic sites can compete with La Roque Saint-Christophe, due to its size and its continuity of occupation. This site remains of the most original visit which can be made in Périgord.