Laténium - Archaeology Park and Museum

Carol Ebener

archaeologist and PR

Laténium - Archaeology Park and Museum

Espace Paul Vouga, CH-2068 Hauterive, Switzerland

Living Heritage at the Lateacute;nium

The Lateacute;nium itself will be the main protagonist of this presentation, as should be the case when one speaks of "living heritage".
The Lateacute;nium stands on the banks of the Lake of Neuchacirc;tel. The project took 22 years to be realized and was inaugurated on September 7th 2001. The name Lateacute;nium comes from the Celtic settlement of La Tčne (european reference for the second Iron Age) located two kilometres away from the museum. This realization plays between the expression of space and time. It is the outcome of a general process of reflection on research and development of the archaeological heritage of the State of Neuchacirc;tel.

The same edifice hosts the museum, the regional archaeological service, the university's institute of Prehistory, the laboratory of dendrochronology and the laboratory of conservation restoration, several depositories (open to public) and a workshop for educational activities.This multidisciplinarity renders this institution very dynamic and impressed the judges of the Council of Europe Award, won by the Lateacute;nium in 2003.

The museum promotes the La Tčne culture as well as all the other Switzerland's past cultures to be found in the canton of Neuchacirc;tel from the Renaissance back to the Prehistoric Times. It does so in a European perspective with temporary exhibitions such as "The Origins of Paris" using loans from the Carnavalet Museum in 2003 or "Women and Goddesses" showing 180 objects from the Near and Middle East, Egypt and Europe which are female representations found in archaeological and modern art collections. Its mission is to disseminate "knowledge and dreams".

The Park and Museum of Archaeology receives financial support from the Swiss Confederation, the State of Neuchacirc;tel and a private foundation.

The museum site was first occupied by a hunting camp in the 13th millenium B.C. and then by two villages dating from the Neolithic (3810 B.C.) and Late Bronze (1000 B.C.), showing that the choice of the location was not an accident but participates in the promotion of the living heritage.

The Park, on 3 hectares, presents different aspects of archaeology and access is free at all times.The permanent exhibition is bilingual (French and German) revealing 3''000 objects in a modern museography. Apart, from looking at the artefacts, the visitors should be able to touch, experience and dream.
The excellence of Lateacute;nium is to be an effective and aesthetic instrument to make the heritage alive trying to communicate with the public and procuring emotions.

Labels for photographs:
1. The general view of the Lateacute;nium Park and Museum on the banks of the lake
2. The Celts from La Tčne Room with some aspects of museography


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