ISCA Congress 6 Joëlle Darricau


Congress N° 6

International Commission on Prehistory in Show Caves

Joëlle Darricau - Chairman

At the time of the preparation for the I.S.C.A. conference in Toulouse in 2008, I presented my idea to President David Summers for creating a special commission in the Association dealing with prehistory.

 I had been feeling a growing concern at our meetings because the prehistoric caves lacked a dimension for prehistory, these highly symbolic and significant places, bearing witness to our Humanity.

I would like to thank the Board for bringing the specialized subject on prehistory into existence in August 2008

I hope very much that during this congress we will be able to identify the full member caves that contain evidence of prehistory in their caves and get to know the people who represent each of them.

This is the greatest difficulty that I have had since the beginning in activating this network. I need one manager/contact person per each cave containing prehistory, with their E-mail addresses.

The subjects covered in this commission, are diverse and varied. They cover all of the archeological sciences. New, and rather surprising research techniques, are now being used at certain prehistoric sites, to better understand the data that exists within them.

 I will only mention one of these sciences: the application of criminal laboratory techniques.

Other practices are environmental studies: climatology, bacteriology.

For archeological digs: sedimentology, the study of raw materials, the working of bone and stone.

 Social anthropology….understanding the social links of a prehistoric economy.

The Introduction of the cognitive sciences: the neurosciences.

Anthroposophy: spiritual science, which leads the spirit that lives in humans towards the spirit that lives in the universe.

Spiritual science, path of knowledge and way of life.

Biomechanics, human behavior, physical and psychic approaches, the conceptualization of gestures,

SpatializationTaking a new look at the works: malleability, and taking into account the sound and resonance dimension. Cultural links that join all the various ages together .

These are all new forms of research used to understand their way of life , to discover their know-how, to imagine behaviors and then supposing their way of thinking,.

Perhaps you will think that this list of research techniques – some of them revolutionary – and these new ways of looking at this heritage do not concern you, or not very much!

But managers of caves containing example of prehistory must be aware, and be sensitive to these new research techniques

These new approaches bring us – as the managers of these sites – many things to think about and open up to us. New outlooks for the development of an efficient, innovative, qualitative offering, made available to increasingly demanding visitors, who are hungry for accurate information, who want to discover and understand.

These sites that are open to the public then become real links between scientists and the general public, through an appropriate mediation that brings together these two worlds that rarely meet.

When I have recently taken part in various International Symposia: Lascaux, Ifrao, network committees: “Pyrénées Préhistoriques”, “Chemins de l’Art Aurignacien,”and “Caminos de Arte Rupestre”, I am often the only owner-manager of a prehistoric cave site present.

These are the places where I find new ideas, where I nourish my thinking to be able to explain and think about the site of the caves, Prehistory to the Present, in a more original and up-to-date offering ….this is also where I think about our future …..that I can decide to apply breakthroughs to move away from obsolete practices, to be innovating in terms of presentation, to gather around me people with very specific competencies. Also knowing how to talk about others, about you, and in the end passing on through this network, of ours, everything that we are able to gather from our travels and our reading.

Knowing how to present the specificities of our prehistorical sites with, in the background, a broader notion of the history of prehistory.

At the present time we are all fragmented and each of us addresses only a part of our subject.

The committee exists. It will be a place for reflection thanks to the web site , internet and intra-net space.

A formidable tool for working and sharing. It’s up to us to make the most of it.


To achieve this, we must adopt a new way of acting ….

Let us create a collective intelligence with the new communication technologies.

Changing our habits, thinking about other people.

Let’s be curious about others.

Let’s share, exchange, and above all make the time to do it, to create the mechanism of click and copy, click and send.

Human beings have survived thanks to exchanges, sharing, in a lived intuition of interdependency of the world of living things and of nature.

Cultural diversity is an enrichment of humanity in motion, we are constantly evolving. We are the actors.

Now more than ever, we must develop a capacity for adaptation, nourished with substantial and patient thinking in making our choices.

I don’t have time to go into it now, but I would like us to consider the issue of tourism for our caves with prehistory. How far can we go? Again, the management of paradoxes.

What training is needed for our personnel in charge of mediation? The dangers, the notion of fashions, profitability, competency.

Speaking of prehistory…

Like them, let us be Hunters of information ….

Gatherers of new ideas …….

Nomads for a broader vision and sharing that witch will enrich all of us.

Prehistory! Our family history which is far from being finished!!!

Thinking that the more we think we know, the more we realize that we don’t know very much.

These are the approaches that I would like to explore with you in our future exchanges.

 This commission will be what we are able to build together.

Thank you – Merci – Gracias – Milesker