Even if it remains today only little of preserved vestiges, it is necessary to imagine the intense activity of the careers of Minervois during the Roman occupation and the export of the marbles in all the Mediterranean basin, in particular in Italy. On the whole of the French territory, one evokes the marble of Languedoc, in connection with many private monuments, religious or royal. Several careers were useful under the Former regime, but it is mainly the sites of Caunes Minervois and Cat-like in Minervois, on the sunny slope of the Black Mountain. Indeed the abundance of the stones marbrières, the wealth of their color, the variety of let us tons indicated a single and exceptional site.
Around 1615, the abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Caunes meets in Rome of the Italian sculptors and invites them to come to prospect the grounds of sound terroire. The Masters rediscover sites rich in marble of various qualities and colors. It acts, for these native sculptors of Carrara marble and its surroundings, to rediscover the marble careers already used during antiquity and the Middle Ages. Stefano Sormano and Antoine Ligani, helped their brothers, send columns and works already carved in Italy for the ornament of the churches, Genoa or Holy Pierre de Rome. They export blocks towards Italy leaves the ports Narbonne and from Agde and in return the white Carrara marble marble is transported in Languedoc.
the exploitation becomes increasingly intensive because of the requests carried out for the large Italian churches which emphasize the color flesh on veined white Carrara marble. The marble incarnates, most required, will be useful initially for the area, in Toulouse or Auch. Thanks to the Bernin sculptor, the reputation of the marbles of Minervois reaches the Court and Louis XIV fact of ordering significant amounts for the embellishment of the royal buildings. The arrival of Jean Baux, French architect, in Caunes also will involve a development of the extraction to the profit of the churches of the south-west of the kingdom, Auch, Toulouse, Bordeaux. The abbey of Caunes, owner of the processing sites, requires a financial royalty for each block of marble incarnates left the careers of Terrables. At the end of the XVII ème century, the marble of Caunes affirms its pondérance on that of Campan (65) and it is used in coatings, the chimneys, the pavement, the 277 pilasters of the frontages of Large Trianon, representing approximately 2,500 m3 (on standby of restoration today).
the marble incarnates rest most frequently required by the chapters and the individuals, can be because there remain about it provisions which the king sells. Of àprès a report drawn up for the intendant of Languedoc, dominate the whipped red marble of gray and white spots and the marble morello cherry, original by its colour of dark red interfered clearer nodules. Few traces of the other colors.
During the XVII ème and XVIII ème centuries, the main part of the extractions relates to several careers which functioned with full output. They form a crescent with hillside: in the North-East of the castle of Villerambert, incarnates it and the ancient red; on the edges of the Money Doubles, the saveloy, the green of the Mill and the rock of Buffens, exploited starting from 1712; the morello cherry and incarnates it on the plate of Terrables; incarnates in the great career which dominates the throats of Souc or the Cross-country race; gray in the low career, dominating the old way of the Cross-country race; the morello cherry and the turquin around Boriette and on the territory the Cat-like ones. The ancient red exists in Caunes and Villerambert. The green is exploited starting from 1712, under the rock of Buffens.
Near this career, a taweg dug by the team of the Dervillé company made it possible to carry out balusters of the grand opera of Paris, in 1862. To the North-West of the castle, a site interesting and used long time, provides a red and red marble of turquin to blue veins.
Along the brook, appears a marble of the red type ancient with a colour violet and a red purple wood with microphone goniatites and spots. The color violet comes from iron oxide with manganese inclusions.
With the revolution, after the sale of the national goods of the abbey, the descendants of the associates to the purchase of the careers of Caunes in 1807 continue the activity in family: Beams, Galiner, Make up, Molinier and Gouze developed generations of specialists who practise industry marbrière along XIX ème century. The many boys, trained with the sculpture and the trade, settle in the main towns of midday and maintain the reputation of quality, while tending to propose identical models. The war of 1914 will carry some of young people and will cause the end of the Company of the marbles of Caunes; rare workshops remained in activity until 1950 for sawing and the polishing carried out primarily by women.
Today, in Languedoc as in the Pyrenees, the majority of the careers benefits from the work heavy and qualified Italians, in connection with modern Carrara marble societies. Only in Caunes and in particular on Villerambert one finds an owner local independent. The boroughs, formerly famous for their crafts monumental mason, develop original tourism while making discover their sites and monuments, by emphasizing the places of extraction.
Even if today only some marble careers are still exploited in the minervois, the slopes of our villées are literally sifted old careers!
the marble is becoming again one of materials of sculpture most important, even if since centuries of many artists never ceased working it;
the marble always exerts an irresistible facination and it is thus logical that at one time or another their artistic courses much of sculptors feel the need and the need for being confronted with the marble.
Today still of the careers of this red marble is in exploitation and their marble continuous with being used in very coma great projects for example the future highest tower of the world with Djeddah. This marble thus constitutes rare and invaluable economic resource for its region.