The expansion of HII regions can trigger the formation of stars. An overdensity of young stellar objects (YSOs) is observed at the edges of HII regions but the mechanisms that give rise to this phenomenon are not clearly identified. Moreover, it is difficult to establish a causal link between HII-region expansion and the star formation observed at the edges of these regions. A clear age gradient observed in the spatial distribution of young sources in the surrounding might be a strong argument in favor of triggering. We have observed the Galactic HII region RCW120 with herschel PACS and SPIRE photometers at 70, 100, 160, 250, 350 and 500$\mu$m. We produced temperature and H$_2$ column density maps and use the getsources algorithm to detect compact sources and measure their fluxes at herschel wavelengths. We have complemented these fluxes with existing infrared data. Fitting their spectral energy distributions (SEDs) with a modified blackbody model, we derived their envelope dust temperature and envelope mass. We computed their bolometric luminosities and discuss their evolutionary stages. The herschel data, with their unique sampling of the far infrared domain, have allowed us to characterize the properties of compact sources observed towards RCW120 for the first time. We have also been able to determine the envelope temperature, envelope mass and evolutionary stage of these sources. Using these properties we have shown that the density of the condensations that host star formation is a key parameter of the star-formation history, irrespective of their projected distance to the ionizing stars
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