Prehistoric mines

The surrounding area attests to an archeological heritage that dates back to prehistoric times.

At the end of the Neolithic period (around 3000 B.C.), early man made permanent settlements in this isolated area, which in the past had only been occupied from time to time. These early groups became sedantry thanks to the discovery and utilisation of new resources related to the presence of copper.  Copper is an ingredient in metal alloys, and the nearby deposits gave a particular importance to the site. The deposits made it possible for the local inhabitants to invent and manufacture tools that would be used throughout the Iron Age and supplied throughout the Mediterranean Basin. This was the age of mines and the first miners. These mountains are home to the oldest metal mines in France, which were in use around 5,300 years ago.

Copper ore is the result of a geological process created by cracks that cross the entire area, serving as channels for warm groundwater.  Flowing groundwater leaves silica deposits on the rocks.  These cracks occasionally occur in limestone strata where groundwater deposits include quartz, as well as iron sulphide and copper sulphide, creating what is known as veins. The very name of Cabrières is perhaps a reflection of ancient mining practices: the place name is maybe not related to goats, but to copper (cupriere).