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|History of France|
Prehistoric France is the period in the human occupation (including early hominins) of the geographical area covered by present-day France which extended through prehistory and ended in the Iron Age with the Celtic "La Tène culture".
The Hominini, or hominins, form a taxonomic tribe of the subfamily Homininae ("hominines"). Hominini includes the genus Homo (humans), but excludes the genus Gorilla (gorillas). As of 2019, there is no consensus on whether it should include the genus Pan, the question being closely tied to the complex speciation process connecting humans and chimpanzees and the development of bipedalism in proto-humans.
France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.
Human prehistory is the period between the use of the first stone tools c. 3.3 million years ago by hominins and the invention of writing systems. The earliest writing systems appeared c. 5,300 years ago, but it took thousands of years for writing to be widely adopted, and it was not used in some human cultures until the 19th century or even until the present. The end of prehistory therefore came at very different dates in different places, and the term is less often used in discussing societies where prehistory ended relatively recently.
Stone tools indicate that early humans were present in France at least 1.57 million years ago.
Stone tools discovered at Lézignan-la-Cèbe in 2009 indicate that early humans were present in France at least 1.57 million years ago.
Lézignan-la-Cèbe is a commune in the Hérault département in the Occitanie region in southern France.
France includes Olduwan (Abbevillian) and Acheulean sites from early or non-modern (transitional) Hominini species, most notably Homo erectus and Homo heidelbergensis . Tooth Arago 149 - 560,000 years. Tautavel Man (Homo erectus tautavelensis), is a proposed subspecies of the hominid Homo erectus, the 450,000-year-old fossil remains of whom were discovered in the Arago cave in Tautavel.
Abbevillian is a term for the oldest lithic industry found in Europe, dated to between roughly 600,000 and 400,000 years ago.
Acheulean, from the French acheuléen after the type site of Saint-Acheul, is an archaeological industry of stone tool manufacture characterized by distinctive oval and pear-shaped "hand-axes" associated with Homo erectus and derived species such as Homo heidelbergensis.
Homo erectus is a species of archaic humans that lived throughout most of the Pleistocene geological epoch. Its earliest fossil evidence dates to 1.8 million years ago.
The Grotte du Vallonnet near Menton contained simple stone tools dating to 1 million to 1.05 million years BC.Cave sites were exploited for habitation, but the hunter-gatherers of the Palaeolithic era also possibly built shelters such as those identified in connection with Acheulean tools at Grotte du Lazaret and Terra Amata near Nice in France. Excavations at Terra Amata found traces of the earliest known domestication of fire in Europe, from 400,000 BC.
Grotte du Vallonnet is an archaeological site located near Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, between Monaco and Menton, in France, that was first discovered in 1958. Stone tools found at the site have been dated to between 1 and 1.05 million years old, making it one of the earliest sites of human settlement known in Europe.
Menton is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France.
The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic, also called the Old Stone Age, is a period in human prehistory distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers c. 99% of human technological prehistory. It extends from the earliest known use of stone tools by hominins c. 3.3 million years ago, to the end of the Pleistocene c. 11,650 cal BP.
The Neanderthals are thought to have arrived there around 300,000 BC, but seem to have died out by about by 30,000 BC, presumably unable to compete with modern humans during a period of cold weather. Numerous Neanderthal, or "Mousterian", artifacts (named after the type site of Le Moustier, a rock shelter in the Dordogne region of France) have been found from this period, some using the "Levallois technique", a distinctive type of flint knapping developed by hominids during the Lower Palaeolithic but most commonly associated with the Neanderthal industries of the Middle Palaeolithic. Importantly, recent findings suggest that Neandertals and modern humans may have interbred.
Neanderthals are an extinct species or subspecies of archaic humans in the genus Homo, who lived within Eurasia from circa 400,000 until 40,000 years ago.
The Mousterian is a techno-complex of flint lithic tools associated primarily with the Neanderthals in Europe, and to a lower extant the earliest anatomically modern humans in North Africa and West Asia. The Mousterian largely defines the latter part of the Middle Paleolithic, the middle of the West Eurasian Old Stone Age. It lasted roughly from 160,000 to 40,000 BP. If its predecessor, known as Levallois or "Levallois-Mousterian" is included, the range is extended to as early as c. 300,000–200,000 BP. The main following period is the Aurignacian of Homo sapiens.
In archaeology a type site is a site that is considered the model of a particular archaeological culture. For example, the type site of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A culture is Jericho, in the West Bank. A type site is also often the eponym. For example, the type site of the pre-Celtic/Celtic Bronze Age Hallstatt culture is the lakeside village of Hallstatt, Austria.
Evidence of cannibalism among Neanderthals found in Neanderthal settlements Moula-Guercy and Les Pradelles.
The earliest modern humans – Cro-Magnons – were present in Europe by 43,000 years ago during a long interglacial period of particularly mild climate, when Europe was relatively warm, and food was plentiful.When they arrived in Europe, they brought with them sculpture, engraving, painting, body ornamentation, music and the painstaking decoration of utilitarian objects. Some of the oldest works of art in the world, such as the cave paintings at Lascaux in southern France, are datable to shortly after this migration.
European Palaeolithic cultures are divided into several chronological subgroups (the names are all based on French type sites, principally in the Dordogne region):
Experts sometimes refer to the "Franco-Cantabrian region" to describe this densely populated region of southern France and northern Spain in the late Palaeolithic.
From the Paleolithic to the Mesolithic, the Magdalenian culture evolved. In South-West France and Spain, one finds the Azilian culture of the Late Glacial Maximum which co-existed with similar early Mesolithic European cultures such as the Tjongerian of North-Western, the Ahrensburgian of Northern and the Swiderian of North-Eastern Europe, all succeeding the Federmesser complex. The Azilian culture was followed by the Sauveterrian in Southern France and Switzerland, the Tardenoisian in Northern France, the Maglemosian in Northern Europe.
Archeologists are unsure whether Western Europe saw a Mesolithic immigration. If Gravettian or Epipaleolithic immigrants to Europe were indeed Indo-European, then populations speaking non-Indo-European languages are obvious candidates for previous Paleolithic remnants. The Vascons (Basques) of the Pyrenees present the strongest case, since their language is related to none other in the world, and the Basque population has a unique genetic profile[ citation needed ]. The disappearance of the Doggerland affected the surrounding territories. The Doggerland population had to go as far as northern France and eastern Ireland to escape from the floods.
The Neolithic period lasted in northern Europe for approximately 3,000 years (c. 4500 BC–1700 BC). It is characterised by the so-called Neolithic Revolution, a transitional period that included the adoption of agriculture, the development of tools and pottery (Cardium pottery, LBK), and the growth of larger, more complex settlements. There was an expansion of peoples from southwest Asia into Europe; this diffusion across Europe, from the Aegean to Britain, took about 2,500 years (6500 BC–4000 BC). Some archaeologists believe that this expansion, marking the eclipse of Mesolithic culture, coincided with the introduction of Indo-European speakers, whereas linguists prefer to see Indo-European languages introduced during the succeeding Bronze Age. Within the framework of this latter theory (the Kurgan hypothesis), which remains the most commonly accepted model of Indo-European expansion, Neolithic peoples in Europe are called "Pre-Indo-Europeans" or "Old Europe".
Many European Neolithic groups share basic characteristics, such as living in small-scale family-based communities, subsisting on domestic plants and animals supplemented with the collection of wild plant foods and with hunting, and producing hand-made pottery (that is made without the potter's wheel). Archeological sites from the Neolithic in France include artifacts from the Linear Pottery culture (c. 5500-4500 BC), the Rössen culture (c. 4500—4000 BC), and the Chasséen culture (4,500 - 3,500 BC; named after Chassey-le-Camp in Saône-et-Loire), the name given to the late Neolithic pre-Beaker culture that spread throughout the plains and plateaux of France, including the Seine basin and the upper Loire valleys.
"Armorican" (Brittany) and Northern French neolithic culture is based on traditions of the Linear Pottery culture or "Limburg pottery" in association with the La Hoguette culture.
It is most likely from the Neolithic that date the megalithic (large stone) monuments, such as the dolmens, menhirs, stone circles and chamber tombs, found throughout France, the largest selection of which are in the Brittany and Auvergne regions. The most famous of these are the Carnac stones (c. 3300 BC, but may date to as old as 4500 BC) and the stones at Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens.
During the Chalcolithic or Copper Age, a transitional age from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age, France shows evidence of the Seine-Oise-Marne culture and the Beaker culture.
The Seine-Oise-Marne culture or "SOM culture" (c. 3100 to 2400 BC) is the name given by archaeologists to the final culture of the Neolithic in Northern France around the Oise River and Marne River. It is most famous for its gallery grave megalithic tombs which incorporate a port-hole slab separating the entrance from the main burial chamber. In the chalk valley of the Marne River rock-cut tombs were dug to a similar design.
Beginning about 2600 BC, the Artenacian culture, a part of the larger European Megalithic Culture, developed in Dordogne, possibly as a reaction to the advance of Danubian peoples (such as SOM) over Western France. Armed with typical arrows, they took over all Atlantic France and Belgium by 2400 BC, establishing a stable border with the Indo-Europeans (Corded Ware) near the Rhine that would remain stable for more than a millennium.
In the Southeast, several groups whose culture had evolved from Chasséen culture also built megaliths.
The Beaker culture (c. 2800–1900 BC) is a wide phenomenon that expanded over most of France, excluding the Massif Central, without significatively altering the pre-existing cultures.
The early Bronze Age archeological cultures in France include the transitional Beaker culture (c. 2800–1900 BC), the Tumulus culture (c. 1600-1200 BC) and Urnfield culture (c. 1300-800 BC). Bronze Age sites in Brittany are believed to have grown out of Beaker roots, with some Wessex culture and Unetice culture influence. Some scholars think that the Urnfield culture represents an origin for the Celts as a distinct cultural branch of the Indo-European family (see Proto-Celtic). This culture was preeminent in central Europe during the late Bronze Age; the Urnfield period saw a dramatic increase in population in the region, probably due to innovations in technology and agricultural practices.
Some archeologists date the arrival of several non-Indo-European peoples to this period, including the Iberians in southern France and Spain, the Ligures on the Mediterranean coast, and the Vascons (Basques) in southwest France and Spain.
The spread of iron-working led to the development of the Hallstatt culture (c. 700 to 500 BC) directly from the Urnfield. Proto-Celtic, the latest common ancestor of all known Celtic languages, is generally considered to have been spoken at the time of the late Urnfield or early Hallstatt cultures, in the early 1st millennium BC.
The Hallstatt culture was succeeded by the La Tène culture, which developed out of the Hallstatt culture without any definite cultural break, under the impetus of considerable Mediterranean influence from Greek, and later Etruscan civilizations. The La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age (from 450 BC to the Roman conquest in the 1st century BC) in eastern France, Switzerland, Austria, southwest Germany, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Farther to the north extended the contemporary Pre-Roman Iron Age culture of Northern Germany and Scandinavia.
In subtraction, Greeks and Phoenicians settled outposts like Marseille in this period (c. 600 BC).
By the 2nd century BC, Celtic France was called Gaul by the Romans, and its people were called Gauls. The people to the north (in what is present-day Belgium) were called Belgae (scholars believe this may represent a mixture of Celtic and Germanic elements) and the peoples of the south-west of France were called the Aquitani by the Romans, and may have been Celtiberians or Vascons.
Prehistoric and Iron Age France - all dates are BC
The Urnfield culture was a late Bronze Age culture of central Europe, often divided into several local cultures within a broader Urnfield tradition. The name comes from the custom of cremating the dead and placing their ashes in urns which were then buried in fields. Over much of Europe, the Urnfield culture followed the Tumulus culture and was succeeded by the Hallstatt culture. Linguistic evidence and continuity with the following Hallstatt culture suggests that the people of this area spoke an early form of Celtic, perhaps originally proto-Celtic.
The Hallstatt culture was the predominant Western and Central European culture of Late Bronze Age from the 12th to 8th centuries BC and Early Iron Age Europe from the 8th to 6th centuries BC, developing out of the Urnfield culture of the 12th century BC and followed in much of its area by the La Tène culture. It is commonly associated with Proto-Celtic and Celtic populations in the Western Hallstatt zone and with (pre-)Illyrians in the eastern Hallstatt zone.
Several species of humans have intermittently occupied Britain for almost a million years. The Roman conquest of Britain in 43 AD is conventionally regarded as the end of Prehistoric Britain and the start of recorded history in the island, although some historical information is available from before then.
The area known as Croatia today has been inhabited throughout the prehistoric period, ever since the Stone Age, up to the Migrations Period and the arrival of the Croats.
The Tumulus culture dominated Central Europe during the Middle Bronze Age.
Prehistoric Europe is the designation for the period of human presence in Europe before the start of recorded history, beginning in the Lower Paleolithic. As history progresses, considerable regional irregularities of cultural development emerge and increase. The region of the eastern Mediterranean is, due to its geographic proximity, greatly influenced and inspired by the classical Middle Eastern civilizations, and adopts and develops the earliest systems of communal organization and writing. The Histories of Herodotus is the oldest known European text that seeks to systematically record traditions, public affairs and notable events. In contrast, the European regions furthest away from the ancient centers of civilization tended to be the slowest, regarding acculturation. In Northern and Eastern Europe in particular, writing and systematic recording was only introduced in the context of Christianization, after 1000 CE.
The prehistory and protohistory of Poland can be traced from the first appearance of Homo species on the territory of modern-day Poland, to the establishment of the Polish state in the 10th century AD, a span of roughly 500,000 years.
The Riss glaciation, Riss Glaciation, Riss ice age, Riss Ice Age, Riss glacial or Riss Glacial is the second youngest glaciation of the Pleistocene epoch in the traditional, quadripartite glacial classification of the Alps. The literature variously dates it to between about 300,000 to 130,000 years ago and 347,000 to 128,000 years ago. It coincides with the Saale glaciation of North Germany. The name goes back to Albrecht Penck and Eduard Brückner who named this cold period after the river Riss in Upper Swabia in their three-volume work Die Alpen im Eiszeitalter published between 1901 and 1909.
This page concerns the prehistory of Brittany.
The archaeology of Northern Europe studies the prehistory of Scandinavia and the adjacent North European Plain, roughly corresponding to the territories of modern Sweden, Norway, Denmark, northern Germany, Poland and the Netherlands.
Chasséen culture is the name given to the archaeological culture of prehistoric France of the late Neolithic, which dates to roughly between 4500 BC and 3500 BC. The name "Chasséen" derives from the type site near Chassey-le-Camp (Saône-et-Loire).
The prehistory of the Iberian Peninsula begins with the arrival of the first hominins 1.2 million years ago and ends with the Punic Wars, when the territory enters the domains of written history. In this long period, some of its most significant landmarks were to host the last stand of the Neanderthal people, to develop some of the most impressive Paleolithic art, alongside southern France, to be the seat of the earliest civilizations of Western Europe and finally to become a most desired colonial objective due to its strategic position and its many mineral riches.
Bronze Age Britain is an era of British history that spanned from c. 2500 until c. 800 BC. Lasting for approximately 1,700 years, it was preceded by the era of Neolithic Britain and was in turn followed by the period of Iron Age Britain. Being categorised as the Bronze Age, it was marked by the use of copper and then bronze by the prehistoric Britons, who used such metals to fashion tools. Great Britain in the Bronze Age also saw the widespread adoption of agriculture.
The Stone Age in territory of today's Poland is divided into the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic eras. The Paleolithic extended from about 500,000 BCE to 8000 BCE. The Paleolithic is subdivided into periods, the Lower Paleolithic, 500,000 to 350,000 BCE, the Middle Paleolithic, 350,000 to 40,000 BCE, the Upper Paleolithic, 40,000 to 10,000 BCE, and the Final Paleolithic, 10,000 to 8000 BCE. The Mesolithic lasted from 8000 to 5500 BCE, and the Neolithic from 5500 to 2300 BCE. The Neolithic is subdivided into the Neolithic proper, 5500 to 2900 BCE, and the Copper Age, 2900 to 2300 BCE.
Paleolithic Europe, the Lower or Old Stone Age in Europe encompasses the era from the arrival of the first archaic humans, about 1.4 million years ago until the beginning of the Mesolithic around 10,000 years ago. This period thus covers over 99% of the total human presence on the European continent. The early arrival and disappearance of Homo erectus and Homo heidelbergensis, the appearance, complete evolution and eventual demise of Homo neanderthalensis and the immigration and successful settlement of Homo sapiens all have taken place during the European Paleolithic.
The greater Basque Country comprises the Autonomous Communities of the Basque Country and Navarre in Spain and the Northern Basque Country in France. The Prehistory of the region begins with the arrival of the first hominin settlers during the Paleolithic and lasts until the conquest and colonisation of Hispania by the Romans after the Second Punic War, who introduced comprehensive administration, writing and regular recordings.
The prehistory of Southeastern Europe, defined roughly as the territory of the wider Balkan peninsula covers the period from the Upper Paleolithic, beginning with the presence of Homo sapiens in the area some 44,000 years ago, until the appearance of the first written records in Classical Antiquity, in Greece as early as the 8th century BC.
The caves of Arcy-sur-Cure are a series of caves located on the commune of Arcy-sur-Cure, Burgundy, France. Some of them contained archaeological artefacts, from the Mousterian to Gallo-Roman times.
Betal Rock Shelter, a karst cave located on the south-eastern edge of the Lower Pivka river valley on a slope just above the road from Postojna to Bukovje is a site, where rich cultural sediment layers with remains of stone tools, artifacts and numerous fossilized bones of contemporary animals were found. Its entrance has been formed by the collapse of the 174 m (571 ft) long cave's ceiling, carved out by the waters of the Pivka river.