Situated 3 km N of Aix-en-Provence (Aquae Sextiae Salluviorum), at the crossing of the natural routes, E-W
from Italy to Spain, N-S from the Durance to Marseille.
It was the capital of the Celto-Ligurian confederation
of the Σάλυες
or Salluvii, which controlled a vast territory bordered by the Rhône, the Durance, the lower
Argens valley, and the Mediterranean. We do not know
the ancient name of this polis (Diod. 24). The date of
its founding no doubt goes back to the 4th c. B.C. It
was probably destroyed during the campaigns carried out
between 125 and 123 B.C. by the Roman legions commanded first by M. Fulvius Flaccus, then by C. Sextius
Calvinus. Entremont's king, Teutomalius, took refuge
among the Allobroges; its inhabitants were deported,
except for a small pro-Roman party which may have included 900 native (Diod. 24; Appian, Hist. rom.
. 61). This dating of Entremont's destruction
has sometimes been questioned in favor of a later one
The oppidum occupies a triangular plateau, with an
area of some 35,000 sq m, protected by two cliffs. The
N side, a gentle slope, is protected by a strong rampart
380 m long. The walls consist of two fairly regular
ashlar faces, tending towards opus quadratum. They are
filled with earth and rubble and are more than 3 m thick.
At regular 19 m intervals, rounded towers were attached
to the rampart. A second wall, in the S corner of the
plateau, encloses a quadrilateral about a ha in area,
slightly higher than the rest of the oppidum. It is not
known if this “acropolis” corresponds to the earliest stage
of the settlement (which later would have expanded) or
if it consists of a quarter separated from the rest of the
town (an aristocratic quarter?).
Excavations have brought to light a regular town
plan, arranged with respect to the orientation of the
ramparts. The cobbled streets are relatively wide and
have ruts attesting the passage of carts. Near the enceinte a system of stone channels crossed under the
walls and let the run-off water out. The dwellings were
arranged in blocks, and they too had stone walls. Mostly
they were long, narrow (5-8 x 2.50-3.50 m) structures
with a hearth and dolium. Some, however, are larger
and consist of two to five rooms. Some pieces of decoration have been found: remains of a paving with a
crude mosaic, clay plaques decorated with fluting and
triglyphs. Oven apertures, pieces of oil presses, millstones, spindles, and various tools record farming and
crafts. Many Massaliot coins, wine amphorae, and imported pottery indicate extensive commerce with Massalia.
A large dwelling, in the form of a portico, dating to
the last period, reutilized parts of older buildings: a
pillar with representations of human heads with closed
eyes, a lintel of the same kind, but also including sockets
in which the mummified heads of vanquished enemies
were placed, according to the rite reported by Diodoros
(5.29) and Strabo (4.4,5
). Moreover, skulls with spikes
have been found on the floor of this building. In the fill
of the main street of the oppidum, which passed in front
of this portico, important pieces of statuary have been
found, pillars carved in relief depicting severed heads
(but with a much less crude technique) and a horseman.
Most important are the remains of statues in the
round: heroes crouching in the position seen at Roquepertuse and Glanum (St. Rémy de Provence), heads,
torsos adorned with a breastplate and the Gallic torque,
etc. The Helleno-Etruscan influence on this art is evident. All these features show that Entremont, a political capital, offered its heroes a cult, probably of an
oracular nature. These sculptures are now on exhibit
at the Musée Granet at Aix-en-Provence.
F. Benoît, Gallia
5 (1947) 81-98; 26
; id., Entremont
(1957); id., L'Art primitif
méditerranéen dans la vallée du Rhône (1955).