Magdalenian sculpted shelters are located in a very particular geological context – that of limestone karst , although there are different types of limestone. The phenomenon of rock shelter formation is based on the same general principles: erosion due to water followed by collapse of the wall.
The study of rock shelters is part of a broader approach to the environment and to the landscape, i.e. an analysis of the impact of prehistoric occupation on the ecosystem. Soil archaeology provides an account of the various ways natural resources were used by Palaeolithic peoples. These methods of analysis provide an understanding of sustainable development on a regional scale, but also at site level via the study of its objects and structures.
These prehistoric sites are both fragile and vulnerable. Excavation and study have radically altered their storage conditions. This calls for heightened care and the implementation of protection measures so that they can be handed down to future generations. These open-air sites are now closed for preservation reasons, which thus profoundly changes their original appearance. For those that are still open to the public, their fragility means that the number of visitors must be limited, and that awareness-raising actions are required via heritage activities and mediation involving researchers.
This is how the Interpretation Centre came about. It is neither a conventional facsimile nor a museum. The two proposed reconstructions of the carved frieze (one physical and the other digital) are used as a means and not an end. Through the frieze, and the accompanying support, visitors are invited to make their own discovery, and to raise questions that this testimony of humankind elicits.
Through these choices, the Interpretation Centre seeks to turn visitors into participants in "their" encounter with the Roc-aux-Sorciers site.