The dolmen of Pey-Cervier in Lorgues comprises two dolmens, Pey Cervier and Roque d’Aille, testimony to a very old settlement, around 3,000 to 2,000 BC. (By way of comparison, this is the same time at which the Egyptians were building their pyramids, tombs of the pharaohs.)
These megaliths (from the Greek mega, grand and lithos, stone), menhirs and dolmens, are the first religious architectures known in the West. The dolmens were used for collective burials over a period of time. Even though this type of monument is relatively common in Provence, very little is known about the Neolithic populations who erected them, since, unlike the Egyptians, they have left us no written testimony.
The dolmens are found above the hamlet of Saint Jaume. They are tombs at the centre of a huge collection of stones, encircling an area of about 10 m in diameter.
A long corridor of about 1.5m, turned symbolically towards the setting sun, leads to a square chamber marked by three enormous dressed stones, called orthostates (two pillars and one laid on top). The covering slabs have disappeared. The whole was covered with a dome of earth to form an artificial mound, a tumulus, protecting the whole. Probably as over the centuries erosion removed the earth, the covering slabs were carried away as good stones to be reused.
Excavations revealed numerous stone pearls, bone pendants, fragments of flint arrows and blades, bronze rings, broken and burnt bones, and many hundreds of teeth. Some of these are on display in the archaeological museum of St. Raphael.