Life in the Dordogne continued to improve. Bronze implements were made, horses were trained and used for hunting, and more sophisticated dwellings were constructed from rock - there are many dolmens in the region that remain from this period.

The wheel was invented, and when used with animals that could pull carts, will have had a substantial impact on the lifestyle of early man. But meanwhile greater, more efficient civilisations were developing elsewhere and these wre to change the Dordogne (and the world) for ever.

Perigueux

The Celts moved across France and reached the area about 2500 years ago. Much more sophisticated than the inhabitants at that time, they were skilled at metalworking, and developed trade routes across France and Europe. They lived in towns, usually constructed on hilltops for defensive reasons, where a complex administrative function was established.

They created the first cities, including the city that is now Perigueux.

The Romans arrive in the Dordogne

The life of the celts - gauls as they were known now - was soon to be disrupted by the arrival of the Romans. 2,200 years ago, in 56 BC, they moved into the Dordogne under Publius Crassus, a lieutenant of Caesar, and rapidly conquered the gauls.

In AD 16 Aquitaine was born, as Aquitania, covering a large part of South West France. The fertile land rapidly attracted new Roman settlers, who brought ever more advanced agricultural techniques to the region, and constructed buildings, towns and cities that were very sophisticated.

The chief Roman towns in the region were at Perigueux and Cahors.

Perigueux Vesunna museum

Romans also brought their language and culture to the Dordogne, and introduced the first vines to the region. The rich among them lived in splendid villas, at the centre of large farming complexes.

Numerous remains from the Roman period exist in the region, although not in the scale that they are found in south-east France. The Vesunna Museum in Perigueux is the best place in the Dordogne to see Roman remains. Also visit the mosaics at Montcaret.

 

Continue to vandal invasions or return to History of the Dordogne or the Prehistory of the Dordogne