Arkéos, a journey from the Palaeolithic to the Douai Middle Ages

In Douai, the Arkéos Archaeological Museum-Park traces 200,000 years of Ostrevent history through its archaeological collections and medieval reconstructions.

At that time, man was a hunter and used carved stone tools, which today are displayed in the museum along with the bones of rhinoceros or even cave bears. Over millennia, men have become sedentary: this is the Neolithic era. Models explain how the first societies were formed. Man developed ceramics, animal husbandry and handicrafts, and the work with stone became finer. After all, ” it is the age of the new stone, and the new stone is the polished stone “Explains Guillaume Klaës, curator of the museum, pointing to a polishing machine, this large stone used to polish tools.

The Neolithic, the Gallo-Roman period, the lords of the Middle Ages and feudalism… all illustrated in many ways. In miniature in the display cases or life-size in the park that borders the museum. – Pictures Ludovic Maillard

As you move forward between the museum’s showcases, the history of mankind progresses. Bronze Age ingots give way to iron tools. A little further on, the models show the Gallo-Roman villages, the perfection of glasswork from 2,000 years ago, Roman ornaments and ceramics. The Gallo-Roman period gives way to medieval kingdoms, lords and feudalism, illustrated in the museum by the numerous weapons. Knives, spears, swords… There is something for everyone!

The Middle Ages come to life

You liked the models arranged in the museum, but you remained unsatisfied? This is because you haven’t been to the park yet. On the banks of the Scarpe, Arkéos has built a replica of harboursthe urban area of ​​Douai in the 10th century, as well as a reconstruction of a castle mound, the fortified residence of the Count of Flanders.

The Neolithic, the Gallo-Roman period, the lords of the Middle Ages and feudalism... all illustrated in many ways.  In miniature in the display cases or life-size in the park that borders the museum.
The Neolithic, the Gallo-Roman period, the lords of the Middle Ages and feudalism… all illustrated in many ways. In miniature in the display cases or life-size in the park that borders the museum. – Pictures Ludovic Maillard

This summer is harbours has become the outstanding location for the museum’s craftsmanship. Animations and workshops are offered to visitors of all ages. Nicolas Debuisser, from the association Officina Monetae, introduces us to the minting of Roman and Carolingian coins. ” Each participant leaves with their own coin, minted in tin says Nicolas.

Opportunity to participate in demonstrations of period craftsmanship.
Opportunity to participate in demonstrations of period craftsmanship. – Pictures Ludovic Maillard

A little further, the children are making a leather purse to keep this change, and others are getting their hands in the mud to build a cob wall and a thatched roof. Be careful, T-shirts and pants can suffer the consequences of this activity, they definitely need to be washed when you get home.

Adults can also participate, and are particularly interested in a demonstration of brewing beer over a log fire just like in the Middle Ages.

Opportunity to participate in demonstrations of period craftsmanship.
Opportunity to participate in demonstrations of period craftsmanship. – Pictures Ludovic Maillard

What to spend a day with the family and discover the lives of those who lived in our region long before us.

Practical information

– In the summer, Arkéos is open every day from 10.00 to 19.00.

– Prices: €8 / €6. Family price (two adults and two children): €25.

Information on the website or on 03 27 71 18 00.

– Non-stop demonstration of various crafts, from 10.00 to 19.00 from Tuesday to Sunday. Workshops, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10.00 to 12.00 (€4.50 per person, after reservation, does not include admission to the museum and the park). Other workshops are offered outside Wednesdays and Fridays.

– For more information about the workshops and for reservations, see the Douaisis tourisme website / 03 27 88 26 79.

Leave a Comment