Cros hillfort or oppidum   Leave a comment

The gateway to the hill-fort is situated at the north-west corner, and has been reconstructed. It is 2.5 metre wide, and was protected by a tower and a covering wall next to a dry gorge.

plan1.jpg

Below is a view from outside the gateway, showing the entrance and the view south. It’s in fact a narrow passage 15 m. long with a bastion on the left.

A wooden gate is presumed to have closed this gateway off, as pole-sockets have been found in place. A protective stone post at the corner shows that chariots entered here.

gorge-du-cros.jpg

Above is a view south, down the Gorge du Cros, a drop of about 150 metres. The ‘headland plateau’ is thus an éperon barré, a lookout barred from attack by cliffs and slopes on three sides, needing only one main wall of defense.

Above is the gateway from inside – while below shows the view south from the NW corner bastion, over the gateway and protruding courtine.

Below is a view along the main, northern wall – showing 3 bastions. The walls were originally 2.5 m. thick – now they are more like 5 m. Archaeological layers, protected by areas of fallen wall, show that dwellings were built against the wall, and further inside the rampart. A large natural stone water cistern has been found within the enclosure.
The very earliest traces of habitation have not yet been discovered, apart from some vestigal traces of domestic rubbish. Four phases of occupation of the site have been established between 750 and 580 BC. indicating that this was not a permanent ‘village,’ but rather a response to regional instability and intermittent fears of attack.

A violent fire finally destroyed the palissade of the rampart, reducing large areas of limestone rock to chalk. A construction of wooden poles collapsed and destroyed a stock of vases, of which two etruscan amphores were found. After this catastrophe, the site was abandoned for good.

Gascó (J. ). L’enceinte du Cros (Caunes-Minervois, Aude) in Guilaine (J. ) Vaquer (J. ) dir.,
Aude des origines, Archéologie en Terre d’Aude, 1994 Carcassonne p. 142-3
Gascó (J. ), L’Enceinte du Cros à Caunes-Minervois, Archéologia, n° 344, avril 1998, pp. 42-51, 17 ill.
Gascó (J. ), L’Enceinte du Cros de Caunes-Minervois à la transition bronze-fer ; ouvrages
architecturaux et aménagements, Actes du XXIe congrès international de l’Association
française pour l’étude de l’Age du fer. Aspects de l’Age du fer dans le sud du Massif Central, Conques-Montrozier, 8-11 mai 1997, Monographies d’Archéologie Méditerranéenne, 2000, 6, p. 183-192, 6 fig.
Gascó (J. ), L’Enceinte du Cros (Caunes-Minervois, Aude) au début de l’Age du fer, Actes du XXIVe congrès préhistorique de France, Les civilisations méditerranéennes, Carcassonne, 26-30 septembre 1994, 2000 , p. 211-221, 5 fig.

Posted March 31, 2008 by Richard Williams

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