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Posts Tagged ‘Vezere River Valley’

The first humans found in France, known as Homo Erectus (fact!), are now believed to have lived here over 1 million years ago. They evolved slowly, through four glaciations, discovered fire in the process around 400,000 BC to become Homo Sapiens.

One of them, Neanderthals, found in the southwest France arrived about 300,000 BC but they seem to have died out by about by 30,000 BC, presumably unable to compete with the Cro-Magnons although they cohabited in the region for nearly 10,000 years. The first complete skeleton of a Neanderthal man (carbon dated to 45,000BC) was discovered in the Dordogne River Valley, at La Chappelle-aux-Saints (Corrèze), in 1908.

Biologically modern human beings (species: Homo Sapiens) first appear about 120,000 years ago. Cro-Magnon man, existed some 40,000-10,000 years ago. Remains were first found in southwest France in 1868 and then throughout other parts of Europe. Cro-Magnon man was anatomically identical to modern humans and differed significantly from Neanderthal man, who disappeared in the fossil record shortly after Cro-Magnon’s appearance.

They were skilled hunters, toolmakers and artists. Their upper Paleolithic culture produced a markedly more sophisticated tool kit, using a wider variety of raw materials such as bone and antler, and containing new implements for making clothing, engraving, and sculpting. They produced fine artwork, in the form of decorated tools, beads, ivory carvings of humans and animals, shell jewelry, clay figurines, musical instruments, and polychrome cave paintings of exceptional vitality.

The Celts, emerging from Central Europe, settled in Germany and Gaul as early as 2500 B.C. They started to work with iron to make tools and weapons, and lived in well organized societies until 125 B.C., when the Roman Empire began its expansion here in southwestern France.

Is the wonderment of our region beginning to dawn on you?

à bientôt! Jack
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May 26, 2013 - Posted by Jack Tobin