The archaeological site of Cambous contains the ruins of a prehistoric village which is probably the oldest village that it is possible to visit in France.

The Cambous site sheds light on a pivotal period in our history. At the end of prehistoric times, a profound change took place, with the transition from a way of life based on hunting and gathering to agriculture and livestock breeding.

These new agro-pastoral activities led to a sedentary lifestyle which was accompanied by numerous technical innovations. This is the story of the village of Cambous and it is also the story of the Grand Pic Saint-Loup.

The site of Cambous is also remarkable for its state of preservation.

Built of stone, unlike most of the buildings of the time made of wood, it is considered to be one of the oldest villages in France still visible. It has been fitted out to receive visitors, with in particular the reconstruction of a dwelling of the period, and is also a laboratory for archaeological studies and excavations.

It specialises in experimental archaeology, which consists of reproducing prehistoric gestures and know-how to better understand their evolution.

During the "Faîtes de la préhistoire" event (in May), the European Archaeology Days (in June) and the European Heritage Days (in September), numerous activities are presented to the public, who are then invited to take part in them on these days, which are entirely free.

It dates from the Chalcolithic (or Copper Age), a period between 2700 and 2300 BC. During these four centuries, a brilliant culture flourished, known as Fontbouisse, which owes its name to a site in the Sommières region (Gard) where similar remains were studied in the 1940s.

In the Garrigues (regions of limestone hills where garrigue grows) of the Gard, Hérault and Ardèche, the Fontbouisse people are the authors of countless dolmens and villages with stone houses. There are more than two hundred hamlets of this type, but barely 20% have been studied by archaeologists. There is still a lot of work to be done and the site of Cambous is there to testify to the interest of the research carried out in these regions.


Its remarkable state of preservation is due to its construction technique: unlike the Neolithic houses built in most regions of France, Cambous was not built in clay and wood, perishable materials, but in dry stone.

Four groups of eight to ten huts each were uncovered in 1967. The dwellings, which are contiguous, have thick stone and lauze walls in an elongated plan with apsed ends: this architecture is typical of the Fontbouisse populations.

A dwelling, with a thatched roof, has been reconstructed on the periphery of the site.

Here, and nowhere else, a fossilised territory has survived almost five millennia to offer itself to the ever astonished gaze of the researcher or visitor.

08 december
Cambous - 2

Informations pratiques

To come by bus to the Prehistoric Village of Cambous : line 608, get off at the "Mairie" stop, 850 m on foot.

Accessibility : the path through the scrubland is difficult for people with reduced mobility.

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Cambous - 1
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