Prehistory is a discipline devoted to the study of the material vestiges of human societies, for 3 million years and up to a few thousand or even a few hundred years depending on the regions of the world.
It focuses on archaeological remains, of mineral, animal or vegetable matter, which illustrate the manufacture of objects, tools or weapons, but also symbolic productions (mobile art, rock paintings, ornaments …).
Collections of tools and objects in flint, hard material of animal origin (bone, antler, ivory), decorated objects, statuettes and figurines, engraved or painted plaques, pictorial materials ... constitute the main part of the collections of Prehistory of the Museum. They illustrate the cultural testimonies of these societies and the environments associated with them. Study documents, such as rock art surveys, soil surveys or casts are associated with them.
A large part of the collections come from the first excavations of prehistoric sites which are reference, in particular in the South-West of France (Laugerie-Haute, la Madeleine, la Marche…).
But the collections relate to many regions of the world whose prehistoric remains are also major (especially South Africa or the Tassili region).