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Solving an age-old mystery in true CSI fashion
Issued by: Wits University  
[Johannesburg, 14 November 2012]

Some 7 400 years ago, two mysterious deaths occurred in Teviec in Brittany, France. Buried together beneath reindeer antlers with shell ornaments around their necks and a large number of animal bones, two women suffered a most painful death. But why? Was this a ritual murder or a crime?

Thousands of Sherlock Holmes’ have already tried to solve this “case” at the Toulouse Natural History Museum, in France. Now, the “investigation” is in South Africa and this enigmatic prehistoric event is set to engage visitors to the exhibition in true CSI fashion.

The acclaimed exhibition "Prehistory: The Investigation" is officially being opened on Friday, 16 November 2012, at 3:30pm for 4pm, at the Origins Centre on the East Campus of Wits University. All media are invited to attend. The exhibition is already open to the public and runs until the end of March 2013.

The exhibition will be opened by Dr Francis Duranthon (Director of the Toulouse Museum) with the French Ambassador, Monsieur Jacques Lapouge, Dr Geoff Blundell (Curator of the Origins Centre) and Prof. Francis Thackeray (Director of the Institute for Human Evolution at Wits University).

The exhibition is part of the French-South African Season 2012/13 – an initiative that aims to strengthen the relations between France and South Africa through cultural, commercial and social collaborations.

Prehistory: The Investigation is essentially a prehistoric thriller game where the visitor becomes the crime scene investigator and, equipped with archaeological tools, tries to solve the riddles in several areas of study: anthropology, anatomy, chronology, environment, technology and social life.

In the 1930s, these skeletons were “rediscovered” in the stores of the Toulouse Museum where they have been kept for an unknown period. Now they serve as the perfect whodunit that stimulates science learning though unconventional ways.

The departure point is the Mesolithic, double burial chamber of Saint-Pierre de Quiberon, founded at Teviec in Morbihan, Britanny. The visitors begin at the “autopsy table”, where replicas of the skeletal remains are displayed. A 3D animated background invites the public to ask questions, and directs them to particular areas of investigation.

Visitors are guided in this investigative game through interactive displays and pamphlets. This culminates in the Symbolic Area, where the age-old mystery comes to a surprising end.

Prehistory: The Investigation has drawn crowds in France and has been acclaimed for its entertaining manner of educating and informing the public. It is an ideal way of keeping children occupied this holiday season.

The exhibition is a collaborative effort between the Toulouse Museum in France, the French Institute, Alliance Francaise, the French Embassy in South Africa, the Origins Centre, the Institute for Human Evolution at Wits, the South African Departments of Science and Technology and Arts and Culture, and the National Arts Council of South Africa, as part of the “French Season in South Africa”.

For enquiries and to RSVP:

Lara Mallen
Origins Centre
Tel: (+27) 11 717 4707

Editorial contacts
Wits University
Erna van Wyk
(+27) 11 717 4023

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