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Archaeological excavations, such as those at the Cosquer Cave near Marseilles, show that the coast of Provence was inhabited since at least the Paleolithic era. The Ligurians settled in the area beginning in about 1000 BC. In 100 BC, they founded Massalia (present-day Marseille), which became their most important city. The coastline soon became a flourishing trading route and later remained a Roman province throughout Imperial times until 455 AD when it was gradually absorbed into the Empire's territories by its Christian neighbours; firstly Vandals and Ostrogoths then Visigoths before becoming part of Francia under Clovis Ier who defeated Alaric II at Vouillé en 507 AD . In 52 BC , what is now known as Toulon harbour fell to Rome which established naval bases there including a large one dedicated to building ships for Caesar Augustus by his friend Agrippa (who died there).