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Perpignan Méditerranée Métropole

The 36 Communes

City of Tautavel

In the heart of the Catalan country, Tautavel, a small village in the Corbières whose economy was essentially based on the vine, has become an important tourist centre which is developing around prehistory, culture, art, local produce and nature.

The story

Located near the present-day village of Tautavel, the Caune de l'Arago is a site known internationally for the archaeological excavations it has been the subject of since 1963. This perched cave overlooking the valley is home to an important prehistoric deposit. After seven years of methodical excavations, in July 1971, Professor Henry de Lumley's team discovered fragments of a human skull (a face and a forehead) dating back some 350,000 years. At the age of twenty, the Tautavel man was 1.60 m tall. This Homo heidelbergensis had all the characteristics of the first Europeans: a receding forehead, a bulge above the eye sockets, prominent cheekbones and a protruding jaw.



Number of inhabitants

The town of Tautavel has approximately 885 inhabitants. Its inhabitants are called the Tautavellois.


Since then, annual excavations have revealed over 100 more human fossils. The archaeological remains uncovered in the cave have made it possible to reconstruct the life and environment of groups of Homo heidelbergensis and suggest that this place was frequented by nomadic hunters from 690,000 to 60,000 years before our era. Two museums on this theme are open all year round.