Old Stone Age

Combe-Capelle - Localities

The Couze is a small tributary of the Dordogne which flows generally west and then northwest until it joins with the Dordogne at the small village of Port-de-Couze, about 15 km upstream from the town of Bergerac. Although the prehistory of the Couze Valley is less well-known than that of the nearby V&eaguzère, it is nonetheless fairly well documented and there is evidence for more or less continuous human occupation throughout the Upper Pleistocene. Some of the Paleolithic sites in the Couze Valley are very important, including Combe-Capelle itself, Les Jean-Blancs, Le Malpas, Patary, Termo-Pialat and the eponymous site of La Gravette. Most of the Lower and Middle Paleolithic sites are open-air though some are situated in slope deposits (such as Combe-Capelle) and others are found either at the base of the cliffs or in rockshelters (such as the Abri Peyrony at Combe-Capelle).

Four known Paleolithic sites comprise the site complex of Combe-Capelle -- Roc de Combe-Capelle and Abri Peyrony, both of which are located at the top of the slope at the foot of the limestone cliff, the Plateau de Ruffet overlooking Combe-Capelle, and Combe-Capelle Bas at the foot of the slope. All of these sites were quite rich in archaeological materials, spanning the Lower, Middle, and Upper Paleolithic.

CC Intro