The northern region of Picardy stretches from the Somme in the west to the Belgium border in the east. Much of the region suffered greatly in the first World War, most notably in the Somme Battlefields and numerous châteaux in the more mountainous Aisne. The city of Amiens has an extensive and significant history that starts in the early Stone Age. The departments in Picardy are: Aisne, Oise, Somme.
A Million Years of History in Amiens, France
The northern French city of Amiens has an important place in the history of archaeology. One of the most historically significant Stone Age sites is located in what is now a suburb of the city. It was here that early archaeologists recognised that stone tools were made by humans not natural features. And, with stone tools from Europe’s earliest humans, the fascinating remains of an important Roman town, the tallest complete Gothic Cathedral in France and one of the first purpose built, regional art and archaeology museums, Amiens has a fascinating past that goes back hundreds of thousands of years. Whether you are in the area, or looking for a truly different day trip from Paris, Amiens will not disappoint … Continue Reading.
Built between 1220 and 1270, Amiens Cathedral is France’s tallest complete cathedral. Although most of the original stained glass windows have been destroyed the cathedral has some of the finest examples of religious stone sculpture. A series of Renaissance polychrome sculptures inside the church depict Jesus cleansing the temple, while the western portal is decorated with early Gothic sculpture.
Saint Acheul is the type-site for the Early Palaeolithic Acheulean industry of stone tools. All that there is to see is an exposed section of prehistoric river gravels, so perhaps only for the most die-hard of archaeo-philes. Historically an important site: it was here that in 1854 archaeologists found stones, later to be called Acheulean handaxes, that they argued had been modified by early humans … read more.
Housed in one of the oldest belfries in France, the musée Boucher de Perthes displays a typical collection of local prehistoric finds from the Palaeolithic to the Roman period. It also has a substantial fine art collection. Although a small, local museum, it has a historical collection of Palaeolithic artefacts that belonged to one of the earliest archaeologists to recognise that stone tools were man-made.
Founded in the 1850s, the Musée de Picardie was one of the first purpose-built museums in France, and is today one of the largest of the French regional museums. As a regional museum its collections and displays are wide-ranging, from the prehistory of the Amiens area through to 19th century painting and sculpture. Also on display is an interesting collection of Egyptian and ancient Greek artefacts, from private collections.
Located on the banks of the Somme River northwest of the city of Amiens, Samara is both an archaeological theme park and a nature reserve. The park occupies 30 hectares which lie between a Roman military camp and the river itself, and provides the perfect setting for children of all ages to explore 600,000 years of prehistory, through reconstructions of houses and demonstrations of prehistoric crafts.