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Written on the: March 3, 2016 by Helen Brenton
During a recent visit to Kents Cavern in Torquay, with my Club, the second of our ‘tous en Francais’ tours of Les Grottes, I took away some rather surprising differences between us and the french… which got me thinking…
Vividly recreated during the tour is the lost life of humans… and although I thought some of my group had wandered off times, that’s not what I was referring to! At one point all lights are turned off, and the darkness is then relieved by stone age shell lamps.. Amusingly we learnt that, unlike English kids, when French kids are shown these shells they immediately recognise them as ‘Coquille St Jaques’ that little French delicacy that you rarely see in English French Restaurants… I digress…
Whilst discussing this, I was also surprised to learn that twice as many French school children visit the Cavern each year as English School Children, an explanation for this being that in France, history is taught starting from the Stoneage, whereas in the UK it has traditionally started with the Roman era.
However, because schoolchildren in this country are now following a detailed chronology from the late Neolithic period to the modern day, they are now required to learn about Britain’s “island story” from Stone Age man (to the invention of the world wide web and beyond!)
So back to where we were…. long before the word curriculum was carved into stone or the worldwide web had been unearthed…..
Our ancient ancestors understood that the purpose of existence, as much as any animal knows, was to reproduce, to survive, to eat, to stay alive and grow. This requires no brains, no logic, no deep and meaningful thought; it is built into every creature at a cellular level.
Which got me thinking…. In our modern day – are we actually, subconsciously or otherwise, reverting to our cavemen roots?
Recent studies suggest that ‘Hunter/Gatherer’ diets – or Cavemen diets, claim to be a healthy approach to making your body indestructable… Basically, If a caveman couldn’t eat it, neither can you!
And, in an attempt to reduce the growing number of hyperavtivity and mental health problems experienced in today’s society, some researchers suggest that ‘Caveman parenting’ should be promoted – their children were cuddled and carried about, never left to cry, spent lots of time outdoors and were breastfed for years rather than months. And there is no doubt that bashing rocks with toy hand axes proves that Neanderthals were pretty cool parents!
Which I guess led me to this conclusion by the end of the tour…. whatever language you speak, whatever country or culture you are from…. we are really all just the same as the Cavemen, just living in a different place and time…. although no, not a different place, as like many of us, our ancestors are actually right here in Torquay, in that very endroit we just visited….
A la procahine…
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