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AUMES Canton of Montagnac, Hérault, France.

Pre-Roman oppidum of the Pioch Balat or the Télégraphe on a hill on the left bank of the Hérault, across from Pézenas and in the communes of Auines and Montagnac. The few soundings which have been made of this large and important acropolis, which stands out in the valley of the Hérault—a valley which also gives access to the Cévennes and the Causses—show it to have been occupied from the end of Iron Age I to the Roman period.

On the upper plateau a structure built of large blocks is generally interpreted as a sanctuary but could have been a funerary monument. The forepart of a pre-Roman limestone lion has been found in a pit in the oppidum. A votive capital bearing a Gallo-Greek pre-Roman inscription apparently dedicated to a water divinity has also been found. The site, abandoned during the Roman period, was again occupied in the Early Christian period. A large spring runs from the foot of the hill, near the chapel of St-Martin-de-Graves. Examination of the site, which owing to its privileged position near the ancient trade routes became one of the principal population centers of the region very early, would be well worthwhile, for recent research has shown that this oppidum was located on an ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and administrative boundary.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

“Informations,” Gallia 8 (1950) 112; M. Clavel, Béziers et son territoire dans l'Antiquité (1970).

G. BARRUOL

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