34400 Nissan-lez-Ensérune, Colombiers, France
04 67 37 01 23
Oppidum d'Ensérune Colombiers Reviews
A crossroad of civilisations Jun 08, 2012
Oppidum d´Ensérune is located approximately 2 km from Canal du Midi at Malpas tunnel. The ruin of the ancient fortified old town is 120 m above sea level on the only high ground in the area. Apart from the archaeological interest, the view of the Languedoc Plain and the drained Montady Lake is superb.
Excavations carried out between 1915 and 1967 brought to light a considerable number of objects dating from the Second Iron Age (5th to 3rd century BC) in particular. Its necropolis has over 600 cremation burial tombs.
There are remains suggesting that people settled on the hilltop as far back as the 6th century BC, during the First Iron Age. Little evidence of these first settlers remains except for some food stores dug into the rock. The second occupation dates from the 5th-3rd centuries BC. The settlers build a proper town with stone houses, streets and defensive ramparts. Each house had pottery jars sunk into the floor to store food. There was a burial ground to the west of and separated from the main town. The town was prosperous and a successful trading post where people from the Mediterranean exchanged goods with the Celts. The architecture from that period reflects outside influence. The houses were larger and built around a courtyard. Columns echo Greek and Roman design. Grain silos sunk into the ground can be seen on the hill.
At the end of the 3rd century BC, the town expanded across the whole hill, but was later completely abandoned in favour of lowland settlements in the 1st century AD when the introduction of Pax Romana led to safer living conditions on the plain.
Some of the ruins have information boards with explanation both in French and English.
There is a museum on the site, which displays finds of the settlements and artifacts from the cremation burial site.
Admission is: €7,50 for adults, € 4,50 reduced rate. Children under 18 years and EU citizens 18-25 are free.
Opening hours: May – August 10 am – 7 pm, April and September 10 am – 12:30 pm and 2 pm – 6 pm, October – March 9:30 am 12:30 pm and 2 pm – 5:30 pm
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