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In Dijon take an hour or so to visit this museum housed in the restored Abbaye St-Bénigne. As well as viewing archaeological finds, you will be fascinated by the building itself, a Benedictine monastery. The settings for the three floors of exhibits could not be better and there is plenty of varied interest throughout from the beginnings of Burgundy to a changing contemporary art exhibition.
The top floor of the building of this old Benedictine abbey has a vast wooden roof like the upturned hull of a ship, similar in design to that at the Abbaye de Fontenay. Here the early history of Burgundy is traced from Palaeolithic times with actual and reproduction jewellery, tools and ceramics. The smallest set of balances catches the eye, showing the intricacy and sophistication of some of the early equipment.
The dormitory on the middle floor with its grand stone arched roof has grand proportions. One section of this hall displays the history of the Abbaye of St-Bénigne and the reconstruction of the building to its present form. The other half of the hall is a display area for contemporary art and photographic exhibitions with changing displays.
The chapter house has the most important finds in the museum from the site at the Source of the Seine. Here you can see the perfect bronze of the goddess Sequana. The display of ex votos stands in an environmental chamber with temperature, humidity and light control to preserve the wooden sculptures which only survive by keeping them in similar conditions to where they were discovered in a bog. From tiny effigies up to some statues at two metres high, the Celtic period comes to life.
Muséé Archéologique, 5 Rue Docteur Maret, Dijon is open:
Rue Docteur Maret is not shown on some maps – it is at the end of Rue de la Liberté on the left just before Place Darcy.
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