Salernes and Tholos de la Lauvre

We are surrounded by many charming villages and a number have appeared in these blogs. What is interesting is that with time, and repeated visits, you recognise that each village has its own different qualities. Salernes, for instance, which is about 45 minutes away from us, is very much in the hinterland, to the extent that you can imagine the locals gawping at the arrival of open-top sports cars and ladies with bare midriffs, matters that arouse not the slightest interest along the coast. Salernes also has the remains of industry about it. There are many shops and workshops selling and advertising tiles; the reason, as so often in this part of the world, is geology. Salernes had large outcrops of tile-quality clays. They are now worked out but the industry lingers.

Clay outcrops are still visible in places.

House in Salernes with a fine display of some of the ceramic tiles the town is celebrated for.

The other Saturday, after our morning labouring at the oppidum, we went to Salernes in search of a stone-age site called Tholos de la Lauvre. In truth, it wasn’t all that stunningly impressive, but it did involve a fairly steep climb up a limestone hill that, typical of this water depleted year, had a bleak and arid feel to it such that the appearance of a camel or two would have seemed unsurprising.

The whole hill is actually rather arid, and nearby there were lots of aloes growing, enhancing the sense of being on a desert edge. Given that there has been effectively now no rainfall for three months (and records are tumbling), we hope this will not turn out to be the case.

The tomb, which presumably once had a mound over it. A sign nearby points out that it’s older than the Egyptian pyramids and is unique in this part of France.

Either side of the path were curious shallow excavations; we couldn’t make out if these were archaeological or half-hearted geological excavations.

There is history here. We wish we knew more about it.

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