La Caune de l'Arago

Arago Cave - Tautavel Cave

Useful Information

Location: Autoroute A9 La Catalane, exit Perpignan Nord. D117 to Cases de Pène, then turn right on D9 to Tautavel. From Tautavel D9 towards Vingrau, turn left about 2 km from Tautavel.
Open: Excavation site: APR-AUG
Museum: Daily, JAN-MAR 10-12:30 14-18, APR-JUN 10-18, JUL-AUG 9-19, SEP 10-18, OCT_DEC 10-12:30 14-18
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave Urgonian limestone.
Dimension: L=30 m, W=15 m.
Address: Museum: European Centre for Prehistory, 66720 Tautavel, Tel: +33-468290776, Fax: +33-468294009.
Cave: The European Centre for Prehistoric Research at Tautavel, Avenue Léon-Jean Grégory, 66720 Tautavel, Tel: +33-468294740, Fax: +33-468294766, e-mail:contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1964 start of excavations by the archaeologist Henry de Lumley of the Institut de Paléontologie Humaine.
1971 the famous, 450.000 year old Tautavel Man was discovered.


The Caune de l'Arago (Arago Cave) is named after Arago valley. But the cave is even better known under the (wrong) name (Tautavel Cave), after the Tautavel valley where it is located near the village Tautavel.

The most important finding from this cave are the bones and other remains of the Tautavel Man (Homo erectus tautavelensis), also named after the valley. This ancient human or hominid lived here between 450,000 and 100,000 years BP. The excavator Henry de Lumley considers the bones to be approximately 400,000 years old, other scientists estimate it to be between 200,000 and 300,000 years old.

This human race is even older than the Neanderthal man, it belong to the family of Homo erectus. While Neanderthal remains are rare, the remains of Homo erectus are even rarer. This explains, why this site with numerous well preseved findings is of such great archaeological importance.