Mentone (Fr. Menton), a town of France, in the department of Alpes-Maritimes, on the gulf of Genoa, 12 m. N. E. of Nice; pop. about 10,000. It is on two small bays, called respectively the East and the West bay, which are separated by a point of land, and is shut in on the land side by a semicircular range of mountains from 3,000 to 4,000 ft. high. Men-tone has one of the mildest climates on the Ligurian seaboard, and is a place of much resort in winter, especially by consumptives. Ample provision is made for the accommodation of visitors. The old town, situated chiefly on the point dividing the bays, is well built and clean; it contains a castle and a communal college. In the suburbs are elegant villas, and the lower hills in the background are covered with olive groves and plantations of oranges and lemons. In the middle ages Mentone formed a part of the principality of Monaco, whose rulers were feudatories of Piedmont. Though swept away by the French revolution, the princes of Monaco were recognized at the congress of Vienna. In 1848 the inhabitants of Mentone and the neighboring Roccabruna rebelled, and annexed their places to Sardinia. Prince Florestan protested, but after the cession of Nice to France in 18G0 renounced his rights for a pecuniary compensation (Feb. 2,1861). - At the E. extremity of the East bay are the celebrated bone caves of Mentone, which have furnished an abundance of interesting organic and other prehistoric remains.
These caves, which are about 88 ft. above the Mediterranean, are natural rifts in the Roches Rouges, the mountain over which the Cornice road passes. On March 26, 1872, a fossil human skeleton was exhumed in one of them, at a depth of 211/2 ft- from the surface. It lay on its left side in a natural posture, as if death had overtaken the man during sleep. The skull is ornamented with a number of shells, and with 22 canine teeth of the stag, all of which are perforated and form a kind of network about the head. The skeleton, which is nearly perfect, and indicates great strength, was placed in the museum of natural history in Paris. It is supposed to belong to the palaeolithic age. The cranium is fractured behind and in front, so as to prevent perfect measurement. It is dolichocephalous, arched at the summit, and the sutures are all consolidated. The facial angle is nearly 85°. The height of the man is estimated to have been six feet.
The Bone Caves near Mentone.