La bibliothèque

The library

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With a collection of 12,000 works, 25,000 bibliographic entries, and more than 200 former and current journal titles, the museum library is one of the largest libraries, in France and internationally, specialising in the field of Prehistory, and more precisely in the Palaeolithic period.

The former collection was built up as soon as the museum was created in 1921 by Denis Peyrony. It largely contributed to the comparative study of major Palaeolithic reference sites in Western Europe.

The complementary nature of the older and more recent collections truly achieves its breadth with the multidisciplinary science that Prehistory has become, around themes such as archaeology, anthropology, palaeontology, geology, lithic and bone tool technologies, prehistoric art, and also the history of Prehistory. The library also preserves archives, correspondences, excavation notebooks, maps and other documents most often tied to acquisitions of the archaeological collections.

In addition to the acquisition of works budgeted by the library and archives service of the national museum and in addition to authors’ donations, an active exchange policy with French and foreign institutions has been in place for about ten years thanks to the journal Paléo published by the Friends of the National Prehistory Museum and Archaeological Research Society (SAMRA).

The collection holdings include:

  • works and journals
  • publications of the museum and the Minister of Culture
  • thematic files
  • museum archives
  • educational documents
  • iconographical documents
  • videos
  • bibliographies

The catalog of books which are in the library since 2004 is accessible viathe union catalog Frantiq.

Periodicals are referenced in the union catalog SUDOC.



Isabelle Tarier, head of the library
Phone number: +33 (0)

The library is open from 9:30 to 5:30, Monday to Friday.


Guided tour : Key Exhibits