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Aurignac

Trip Planner Europe  /  France  /  Occitanie  /  Haute-Garonne  /  Aurignac
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Things to do: museums
Aurignac is a commune in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern France on the edge of the Pyrénées. It is the seat of the canton of Aurignac (population 4,160), which is composed of 19 communes. It is part of the ancient region known as the Comminges.GeographyThe town of Aurignac is located 60 km southwest of Toulouse and is, on average, 400m above sea level. It is in the region of rolling hills known as the Petites Pyrénées and is dominated by a ridge-shaped hill upon which the old town is built with the remains of a 13th-century castle at the top.HistoryAurignac is best known for the 1860 discovery, by Édouard Lartet, of prehistoric remains at the Abri préhistorique d'Aurignac, which led to the definition of the Aurignacian culture. It is an archetypical site for this important phase in human prehistory. Evidence of early modern humans (often called Cro-Magnon man) has been found in Africa as far back as 160,000 years ago. When they came to Europe, about 40,000 years ago, their culture appears to have flourished with major advances in the use of tools and the development of figurative art. The Aurignacian culture has been called the first modern humans in Europe.The exact origins of the town are not defined, although the 1957 discovery of the remains of a Roman habitation, with a well-preserved bath-house, 2.5km from the present-day town suggests that the area was inhabited during the Gallo-Roman period. In 777 a Benedictine priory was founded in Aurignac as a dependency of the Abbey of Saint Tiberi in the diocese of Agde. The first known official record is from 1109, regarding Roger d'Aurignac, the Seigneur of the town. In 1234, Bernard V, Count of Comminges, received the territory from his mother. By 1240, he had built a castle (the Château d'Aurignac) on the hill, around which the village grew.
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