Mont Beuvray, Saône-et-Loire, France.
Situated in the Morvan region near the SE edge
of the massif, 27 km from Autun. The importance of
Bibracte—“by far the largest and the best provided of the
Aeduan oppida” (Caes. BGall 1.23
）—in Gaul in the last
years of independence is stressed by the “council of all
Gaul” held there in A.D. 52, which appointed Vercingetorix commander-in-chief of the Gaulish armies
7.63). Excavations carried out over a period of
30 years, to 1898, have left no doubt as to the site: the
oppidum covered the more or less flat summit of Mont
Beuvray, which dominates the surrounding hills and provides easy access to the Yonne, the Saône, and even the
Loire. Further, despite the rampart (of the murus gallicus type) which runs nearly 5 km around the mountain,
Bibracte's primary importance most probably was as a
center of crafts and trade.
Excavation around a large temple, which may have
been dedicated to a goddess after whom the city was
named (two dedications have been found at Autun), has
revealed rectangular dwellings of the Gaulish type, half
buried underground and enclosed in walls of dry stone,
as well as some houses with hypocausts, of the Mediterranean type. The main road, also uncovered, is lined
with shops. Workshops for metalworking take up several
sections; in a number of them the owner's ashes were
buried beneath his forge. Objects found here are evidence
of links with Marseille (coins, amphorae) and Italy (so-called “Campanian” ware with a black glaze, Arretine
bowls, including some goblets signed ACCO).
The city, whose finds have served as a basis for characterizing the period as “La Tène III,” was occupied at least
to the founding of Augustodunum (Autun), which later
took its place (5 B.C.). Thereafter the temple continued
to be used, probably especially during annual fairs. In
fact, only new excavations would make it possible to
determine precisely which buildings and objects actually
date to the period before the Roman Conquest.
Bulliot, Fouilles du Beuvray . . . de
1867 à 1895
(1895); Déchelette, L'oppidum de Bibracte
(1903) Résumé in id., Manuel
2.3, pp. 948-57); Vuillemot, “Révision du matériel archéologique de Bibracte: céramique campanienne,” Mémoires de la Société Eduenne
51 (1968) 213 ff.