A collection of Neanderthal artifacts

Ancient Fontmaure

Remnants of Neanderthal culture in West Central France


Fontmaure is situated in the hills and valleys of North Poitou, near the old village of Vellèches in the Department of the Vienne.  It is a Paleolithic settlement of outstanding importance, between a North West and South West culture region.

Fontmaure animal and floral life consisted of horse, deer, mammoth, rhinoceros, bison, cave bear, hyena, lion, reindeer, fox, bird and fish, as well as oak and chestnut.

With local brown sandstone and multicoloured jasper, with honeycoloured flint nearby and white quartzite from further afield, nature provided the necessary materials to survive for a long time.




The Acheulean and Mousterian hunter-gatherers of the Late Pleistocene were true artisans indeed.

After an initial local layer of Abbevillean artifacts, the Mousterian of Acheulean Tradition (M A T) preceded “Moustérien à lames”, a material culture showing traits of new tool types and foreshadowing an initial stage of the Upper Paleolithic, to prosper elsewhere soon afterwards.  Ca 40.000 years ago it more or less suddenly - causes thereof being unknown -all came to an end at Fontmaure, but so called transitional Neanderthal cultures continued in other parts of Europe and the Near East for another ten thousand years to come.