Archeology Surprised Me

Of all the things that surprised me on this trip, in addition to how much better French supermarkets are compared to American ones, I never thought I would love the archeological aspect of this trip the way I did. In all honesty, my main motivations for coming on this trip were for the French language, culture and history, and archeology and prehistory were really secondary considerations that were just parts of the package Piette deal. So maybe it was just due to my minimal expectations, but I was absolutely amazed by the prehistory we experienced on this trip. Walking through caves like Niaux and Mas d’Azil, or in the case of the Rouffingac cave taking the cave train, felt surreal. 
I became so interested in the archeology aspect of Piette that I actually ended up centering my trip project around it. At the different prehistory museums we visited, I paid special attention to the displays of prehistoric women figurines in order to study how the image of the “ideal” woman differs between prehistory and today. We saw female figurines in the National Prehistory Museum in Les-Eyzies, in the National Archeology Museum in Saint Germain-en-Laye, and recreations in all of the cave gift shops that we visited. I observed that nearly all of the figurines looked like they were pregnant with exaggerated hips, stomachs, and breasts. My project still has a long way to go, but I noticed that this commonality puts an emphasis on fertility in a way unlike modern images of women do. I’m looking forward to further developing my project back in the US, now that I’ve gathered evidence from across France. 


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