Grotte de la Baume Bonne

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Habitation site
43.7, 6.05

La Baume Bonne is an archaeological site in a cave and under shelter overlooking the Verdon, in the town of Quinson in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, in France. It testifies to a human presence in the Gorges du Verdon for 400,000 years. It has been listed as a Historic Monument since April 7, 19921.

Traces of the oldest passage of man in the Gorges du Verdon date back 400,000 or 500,000 years and have been preserved in the Baume Bonne. The first occupants of the cave were unaware of the use of fire, but nevertheless arranged their habitat by stone-laying the shelter. The European Homo erectus left a large quantity of bifaces there, from 300,000 to 350,000 years ago, fire appeared at Baume Bonne.

The presence of Neanderthal Man is attested to at Baume Bonne and in the caves of Sainte-Maxime by characteristic tools and techniques such as Levallois debitage.

In the Upper Palaeolithic, Baume Bonne was again occupied, but the large species hunted in the plains of Europe (mammoths, reindeer) during the last glaciation were not found there. In the Verdon and in Provence in general, there are more horses, ibexes and large bovids (aurochs, bison). The engraved bison from Ségriès (Moustiers-Sainte-Marie) represents the first indication of parietal art in Provence, which was believed, for a time, to be devoid of rock art.

The site yielded a stratigraphic sequence subdivided into seven sets, comprising levels from the Early Middle Paleolithic, Mousterian, Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic.