The finds made at the archaeological deposits in this area, on display in the County Archaeological Museum of Banyoles
, bring us answers to all these questions in a single visit.
Pia Almoina is a Gothic palace dating from the fourteenth century that has housed much of the prehistory and early history of these regions since 1933. Located in the old town centre of Banyoles, this manor house was formerly used as the seat of the Council of the medieval Town, and also as an almshouse. Its rooms are now shared by the Museum, the Historical Archive and the Centre for County Studies.
After going through the entrance to the palace, go over to its inner patio to admire the Gothic gallery from the inside. There is a door at the foot of the stairs leading up to the gallery that takes you into the Museum’s entrance hall. The finds made at the Pla de l’Estany sites are divided up among theme-based rooms, which are on two floors. Do the rounds of them and see for yourself the evolution of the great animals of the Tertiary period, the hunters and gatherers of the Palaeolithic, the first Neolithic farmers, and the Iberian and Roman settlers.
Admire the size of the early elephants, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, sabre-toothed tigers, hyenas, deer, and bison, or better still recreate them in your own imagination in the Palaeontology room: examine one of the most important collections of Palaeolithic materials in Catalonia, and follow the history of the Iberians, the Romans and the Visigoths.
The Banyoles Neanderthal jawbone.
The researcher Pere Alsius has a room devoted to his work on the upper floor, with a prominent spot for his great find: the Banyoles Jawbone
. This human relic is of great importance in studying our ancestors, and it seems to have belonged to a woman of some 40 years of age who lived in the lower Palaeolithic (from 200,000 to 80,000 B.C.).
To complete the visit and immerse yourself in the origins of the area, take advantage of the sites lying nearby for going on excursions to the Palaeolithic Caves at Serinyà, the Neolithic Settlement of La Draga and the Roman Villa of Vilauba.