previous next


The great fortress known as Roque de Viou is situated in the communes of Nages and St.-Dionisy, between Nîmes and Sommières. The site is a huge plateau (400 x 200 m) overlooking the Vaunage plain to the W and joining the hills of Langlade and Nages to the E.

Two main phases have been revealed. The first period of occupation covers the 8th and the beginning of the 7th c. B.C., the date of a group of primitive huts found on the site. Pottery and other articles have identified the first inhabitants of Roque de Viou as the late Languedoc Urnfield people of the Mailhac 1 (department of Aude) type. The second period is in the 4th c. B.C. when a dry stone rampart more than 500 m long was erected on the most vulnerable side of the plateau. From the plan of the rampart wall it is clear that the oppidum was a barred spur. Inside the rampart were built stone houses, simple in plan, which contained quantities of local, Massaliot, Attic, and Italiot ware.

Roque de Viou was abandoned in the first years of the 3d c. B.C. The inhabitants moved 100 m E, to the Castels hill at Nages, at the foot of which is a gushing spring. Here they founded the first city of Nages, traces of which have been found—a circular rampart with a triple wall, and a few houses. The objects found here match the most recent finds at Roque de Viou. The first city of Nages was destroyed between 250 and 230 B.C., possibly by the Volcae Arecomici.

The second city, founded ca. 230 B.C., represents remarkable progress in city planning. It had a new rampart with a double wall, and one gate was protected by two enormous towers. Inside the rampart the city was laid out on an elaborate plan, with insulae and parallel streets of uniform dimensions. Between 200 and 175 B.C. the insulae were enlarged at the expense of the streets, which narrowed from 5 to 2.5 m. The second city shows the growing influence of Italic trade, as represented by vases with black varnish and Campanian amphorae. The local products, however, belong to a traditional civilization typical of the Rhone valley. This second city was partly destroyed between 120 and 100 B.C. and was superseded by a third, with a fortified area four times as large. A 1200 m rampart with many towers and gates encircled the hill, and the settlement grew considerably and became a regional capital. A tall temple was erected about 70 B.C. Roman influence was felt chiefly in trade; the actual civilization of the third city was Gallo-Greek.

The oppidum seems finally to have been abandoned ca. A.D. 10. The temple was burnt down and the inhabitants resettled in the plain around a villa of the Gallo-Roman type. Finds made at Roque de Viou and Nages are now housed in the Nages municipal museum, in the town hail.


E. Flouest, “L'oppidum de Nages,” Comptes rendus des Congrès scientifiques de France (1868) 339-44; Marignan, “L'habitat protohistorique de Ia Roque de Viou,” Rhodania (1929) 194ff; “Informations,” Gallia 20 (1962) 631-32; 22 (1964) 500-2; 27 (1969) 406; M. Aliger, “Nages, Gard, des origines à la fin de l'Ere antique,” Celticum 16 (1967) 1-64MPI; M. Py, “Quelques précisions sur le site de Roque de Viou, prélude à la fouille méthodique du site,” Ogam 20 (1968) 25-38; id. & F. Py, “Contribution à l'étude des remparts de Nages, Gard,” Revue Archéologique de Narbonnaise 2 (1969) 97-121MPI.


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: