If you want to discover the Oppidum of Ensérune during your holidays in Languedoc, be aware that it is about a 3 hour drive southwest of Les Mimosas campsite, on the hill of Nissan-lez-Ensérune. The distance to be covered if you are passing by the A52 and the A53 motorway is approximately 304 km. The best thing is to devote a whole day to it so that you do not miss any of this fascinating site steeped in so many stories and mysteries.
Classified as a National Monument and benefiting from the title of “historic monuments” since March 1935, this site was occupied from the Bronze Age (around the 6th century BC) until the Roman conquest (1st century AD). VS.). Located at the top of a hill, on a rocky promontory which offers an exceptional panorama on the plains of Béziers and Narbonne, this oppidum reveals the remains of a protohistoric village. It is one of the most important Gallic villages in the Mediterranean region. Archaeological finds have revealed that this oppidum was inhabited by an Elisian population, a civilization considered prosperous and evolved at that time.
The beginning of archaeological research on this site began around 1850, when numismatists found Iberian coins there. During the excavations carried out during the following years, a cremation cemetery and tombs were discovered. More and more meticulous research has brought together numerous testimonies of a very ancient occupation such as an impressive collection of Gallic ceramics and weapons. All the objects discovered on this site are brought together in the Ensérune museum, created in the 1950s. A necropolis was also discovered to the west of the site, which is now managed by the Center des Monuments Nationaux.
The Ensérune oppidum is also known for its large number of storage modules in the form of silos dug into the rock underground. There are no less than 300 silos there, with storage capacities varying from 10,000 to 85,000 liters according to estimates. The researchers concluded that these ovoid pits carved into the rock were used to store water and foodstuffs, especially grains, which were essential for the survival of the population. This monumental site therefore constitutes an invaluable testimony to the history of the region at the time of the Gallic occupation. Even though it is a bit far from the campsite, it is absolutely worth a visit!
Photo: Jochen Jahnke