Monday, July 16, 2012

Meet the Gauls

Drawing on three decades of archaeology, "Les Gaulois" debunks popular myths about the Celtic tribes who peopled modern-day France before the Roman invasion.
Paris -- Feisty forest-dwellers in winged helmets, with a fondness for roast boar, strong wine and Roman-bashing. That is the pen portrait of the Gaul as summed up by the pint-sized comic hero Asterix -- and it is wrong from start to finish.

Drawing on three decades of archaeology, "Les Gaulois", an exhibition currently at Paris' Cite des Sciences, debunks popular myths about the Celtic tribes, known collectively as the Gauls, who peopled modern-day France before the Roman invasion.

And far from brutish war-mongers, the show reveals them to be sophisticated farmers, traders and craftsmen.
"The Gauls didn't wait for the Romans or Greeks to civilise them," said the archaeologist Francois Malrain, one of the show's curators.
"They lived in a refined society," he explained. "They were clever farmers and breeders, with a metalworking know-how and dexterity that was unequalled across the whole of Antiquity."
Since the Gauls wrote on tablets of wood or wax -- very few of which survived -- their story has been written by others, from the conquering Romans down the ages to the Asterix comic books.
But in the past decade preventive digs, carried out every time a new road is laid or train line built, have uncovered some 500 Gaul sites yielding precious insight into their culture and skills.

Via http://www.expatica.com/fr/leisure/arts_culture/Meet-the-Gauls--minus-the-dolmens_17700.html