Le Thot – Espace Cro-Magnon
Le Thot is a prehistoric center located in Thonac, on the right bank of the Vézère.
It is about 7 km from the Cave of Lascaux in Montignac.
Nestled in the greenery on a small hill, it boasts panoramic views of the Vézère Valley.
Le Thot is a museum and a 5-hectare animal park, both opened in 1972.
The museum is dedicated to cave art.
It exhibits five life-size facsimiles paintings of La Nef and Le Puits, two of the Lascaux Cave that were not reproduced in Lascaux II.
These cave paintings are represented in their original configuration, dimensions, soil inclinations and order of presentation.
Additionally, Le Thot offers 3-D video projections and a diorama depicting prehistoric artists’ workshops.
Le Thot – Animal park
The museum also presents a faithful reconstruction (endorsed by scientists) of a Paleolithic hunters camp, as well as the auroch, mammoths, cave lions or megaceros they hunted.
The animal park exhibits the ‘descendants’ of some of the animals our ancestors painted on the walls of Lascaux.
Aurochs became extinct in 1627.
However, in 1931 the Heck brothers ‘reconstructed’ the species by selecting some bovine races from Corsica, Hungaria and Scotland.
Indeed, these races’ genetic make-up was the closest to that of the original species.
These ‘reconstructed’ aurochs are therefore very similar to the original race and have been bred in captivity since 1979.
There are 85 representations of deer and 35 of ibex in Lascaux, so these animals are largely represented in Le Thot park.
You’ll find the famous Przewalski’s horses, whose paintings have become the iconic image of Lascaux.
You’ll also find Tarpan horses and even a automaton mammoth.
Le Thot offers a series of activities.
These include introductory workshops on the techniques of cave art using the same natural dyes and the same medium (rock wall).
Other workshops focus on geology and propose mock archaeological excavations in situ at the foot of a rock shelter.
Finally, a series of trails, along which you’ll find picnic areas, crisscross the park.
As a result Le Thot is very popular with children and nature lovers, and parking is free!
Directions: Off the D706E
Coordinates: Lat 45.035480 – Long 1.123078