Sites & cities that bear the name of Roche de Solutré

Roche de Solutré

Today in : France
First trace of activity : ca. 35,000 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : 1434 C.E
Recorded names : Solustriacus, Rock of Solutré

Description : The Rock of Solutré (French: Roche de Solutré), is a limestone escarpment 8 km (5.0 mi) west of Mâcon, France, overlooking the commune of Solutré-Pouilly. It is an iconic site in the department of Saône-et-Loire, in Burgundy. Protected by the French law on sites naturels classés and currently at the heart of a grand site national operation, it draws its fame severally as a rare geological phenomenon of the region, as a prehistoric site of the eponymous Solutrean paleolithic culture, and for the natural environment which its summit provides, the pelouse calciole grassland of Mâcon, with its distinctive flora and fauna. Occupied by man for at least 55,000 years, it is also the cradle of the Pouilly-Fuissé wine appellation. It has attracted media coverage since the 1980s when French President François Mitterrand started to make ritual ascents of the peak once per year. The height of the sites in relation to the flood plain was the most important factor for human habitation. Providing shelter and food for migrant groups, the foot of the rock, strewn with debris, afforded hunters the opportunity to develop traps. The bone-laden magma can be explained by the fact that the site was used by four great paleolithic civilizations over the 25,000 years from 35,000 to 10,000 B.C, an extremely long time period. The use of this site was therefore devoted to hunting activity, butchering and smoking meat, while the neighbouring Rock of Vergisson was a site for habitation. The material found at Solutré was therefore linked with hunting; many tools were found including the flints cut in the shape of bay leaves which are characteristic of Solutrean culture. The rock's surroundings have been occupied continuously since pre-history, each epoch leaving its mark although sometimes almost invisible to the naked eye. Antiquity Traces have been discovered of two important Gallo-Roman villas near the rock. One, Solustriacus, gave its name to the village of Solutré. The other would have been situated between the rock and the neighbouring village of Vergisson. A large flattened mound linking the foot of the rock with Vergisson is suggested to be an ancient Roman road, and is referred to as such by locals. Post-antiquity In the Middle Ages, the Rock of Solutré was a powerful high point, reputed to be the domain of bandits. After the truce signed in Mâcon on 4 December 1434 accepting the Burgundian presence in Mâconnais, this castle, the only remaining high place in the region not reduced by the Duke of Burgundy, was handed over to him. The following year the Duke, Philip the good, ordered the total destruction of the fortress by an act passed at Dijon on 22 December 1434. There was such popular jubilation at the pronouncement that bodies have been found of participants in the destruction, killed by the disorderly collapse of the walls. Recent research has shown that the castle had been a noble and wealthy dwelling, but few facts are known about its residents. A high place for the French Resistance during World War II, the rock was ritually climbed each year by President François Mitterrand and certain of his friends.

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