Prehistory to Present: French Caves, Castles, and Canvases

Dr. Margaret (Meg) Conkey is a professor of anthropology and the director of the Archaeological Research Facility at the University of California, Berkeley. She is one of the world’s authorities on Paleolithic art.

In 2003, she was named one of the “Fifty Most Important Women in Science” by Discover magazine. Meg’s work incorporates modern ideas to interpret images from the Paleolithic era, a time when humans made the first known images considered to be art. Mme. Laurence Léauté-Beasley, a native of France, is founder and director of Art and Anthropological Tours and works closely with institutions that preserve and study cave art and archaeological sites in France.

Explore the prehistory, history, and art traditions of southwestern France where human creativity has flourished for 450,000 years. See the Niaux, Pech-Merle, and other caves that shelter Paleolithic paintings of bison, horses, and mammoths. Visit museums that feature modern art by Picasso and Miro. Enjoy medieval hilltop towns, including Carcassonne and Albi, where religion and politics influenced grand castles, cathedrals, and fortresses.

Travel through the enchanting French countryside, from Perpignan to Toulouse, sampling the finest regional cuisine and tasting the best local wines across the Dordogne—traditionally known as the Périgord.


• Focus on 450,000 years of art—from primitive rock art to medieval paintings to contemporary design
• Tour the newly renovated National Museum of Prehistory, perched on a cliff in the tiny village of Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, regarded as one of the richest collections of European ice-age artifacts in the world
• Observe paintings by Soutine, Picasso, Gris, Miro, and other great masters
• Delight in the gourmet food and fine wines that make France unique
• End your journey in the beautiful city of Toulouse, “the pink city,” nicknamed for the warm glow of its brick and tile, at one of the city’s most-celebrated restaurants.

Dates and Tuition
Saturday, June 9, to Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Tuition: $8,595
Nonmember tuition: $8,845 or 800.422.8975

“Crow Canyon Archaeological Center ( is a not-for-profit research and education facility.”

Related Articles