History of Avignon: Prehistory

In its origins a crag of abrupt flanks, two-thirds surrounded by the Rhone, emerging from the swamps and marshes, it looks over the valley from its 35 meters high perch.

It is certain that the crag was inhabited by prehistoric Man. However, it is impossible to precisely date the first lasting human establishment. 

Archaeological discoveries in the neighborhood of La Balance reveal that the site was inhabited 4000 years B.C., by the Chaseens, whose civilization extended from central Italy to Burgundy. Raising livestock and cultivating the land, they are the founders of the first permanent settlements and villages in the region. The crag was a natural refuge from the numerous and violent caprices of the Rhone.

Towards the second millenium B.C., the Chalcalithic civilization settled here, along with the Campaniforme vase civilization. The first metal (brass) objects appeared. Archaeological discoveries reveal here farmer-breeders of a warlike temperament, who hunted as well.

An anthropomorphic monolith, (in the form of a man), dating from this period was uncovered in 1961. It is presently on view in the Calvet Museum.

Rocher des Doms in Avignon

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