Back in France, in the Périgord, and in the beautiful Vézère valley, where the very last excursion of the course on human evolution is taking place. Having taught this course now for more than eight years, and after probably a total of 20 excursion weeks to Les Eyzies, it is time to move on and shift focus.
Twenty-eight students from Stockholm University and two from Lund University are attending this year’s autumn excursion, all eager to learn more about Neanderthals, Homo sapiens, their remains, encounters, tools, art, and way of living; about the formation of caves and rock-shelters, about the geology of the region, and how humans made use of geology by selecting the best flint for their tools, searching for manganese or iron oxides to be used for colouring and painting.
The sun is shining, the sky is blue and daily temperatures reach 27 °C during this week. The Vallée de la Vézère is really at its best.
It feels said to say good-bye to all the kind people I have come to get to know in and around Les Eyzies, and who have helped me in many various ways with the excursion: Madame Spadi in Beaune, where we always rented a small house and were always welcomed with a homemade cake; the staff at Abri Pataud, who allowed me to make my own little tour in the abri; Cécile and Florence at the Musée de la Préhistoire, who guided our students in the museum, in Le Moustier, La Ferrassie, La Micoque, and Laugerie Haute a million times and never seem to get tired of us; the staff and guides at the Musée de la Préhistoire, at Font de Gaume, Cap Blanc, and Les Combarelles, who gradually warmed up to us and then did everything they could to arrange things in the best possible way; the guides at Pech Merle and Cougnac, who were always in the mood for a good joke, even though some students did not behave the way they should have; the Plassard family at Rouffignac, who made the visits to my favorite cave each time a fantastic adventure; Philippe and Christine Jugie and their staff at Restaurant Chez Jugie in Laugerie Basse, whose confit de canard will be remembered for ever; the friendly people at Auberge du Musée, where we could sit and be connected for hours on end; Bernard Ginelli, reluctant at first to receive us, soon entertained us with his jokes, while demonstrating how to make bifaces; Roland our kind and friendly driver, who helped in all possible ways and taught the students some basic French; Francesco and Will for driving all the way from Bordeaux to Les Eyzies to give excellent lectures; and last, but not least, Jacqueline, with her knowledge of Sweden, who helped me to understand the French way of doing things. Thank you so much to all of you! I won’t say good-bye, actually, I will say au revoir!