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Mont Beuvray, France


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A major Celtic oppidum identified as the ancient site of Bibracte, near Bourges in central France. The site was originally the tribal capital of the Aedui and is known from Caesar's account of the conquest of Gaul, where he recounts fierce resistance in the area. From 125 bc, however, the Aedui were allies of Rome and in the winter of 52 bc Caesar stayed at Bibracte following the battle of Alesia.

Archaeologically the site is dominated by its defences, which comprise a rampart nearly 5 km long built in the murus gallicus style. Extensive excavations were carried out by J. G. Bulliot and J. Déchelette in the early 19th century, and since 1984 an international team of scholars has been working at the site under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture and Communications. Together these investigations have revealed an intensive occupation and evidence for extensive trade between the Aedui and the classical world. Site position is important as it controlled the passage of goods through the Saône and Loire valleys. Within the site its vast area was divided into quarters, each with its own distinct function. Near the entrances were industrial sectors with ironworking, bronze working, and many other crafts. At the heart of the site was a general market area with a space set aside for meetings and ceremonial events. The residential areas were well set out with wide paved streets between the houses. Some of the houses in the wealthiest sector of the site were modelled on Roman styles. The oppidum was replaced in the later 1st century bc by the town of Augustodunum, modern Atun.

Sum.:

J. P. Guillaumet, 1991, Bibracte: an oppidum of the Aedui people. In S. Moscati et al. (eds.), The Celts. London: Thames & Hudson, 519

Subjects: Archaeology.


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