Following my discovery of various pieces of ceramic, I have taken expert advice and returned them to their original location. It seems I should not have moved them at all, but in my excitement – these were my first ever finds! – I overlooked the obvious ramifications. I’ve written to S.E.S.A. [Société d’ Etudes Scientifiques de l’ Aude] of which I’m a member, for a meeting. And to the Mayor of the nearest village, and to the owner of the land.
The find consists of four pieces of a large amphora [date not established], one section of a flat-bottomed urn and handle-stump of similar composition and thickness, one section of a tegula [thick roof-tile] and one unidentified object. It is possible that I have discovered a Gallo-Roman site.
Photos of the pieces, with measurements, are on the Ceramic Finds Page.
Getting the names right for things is sometimes difficult enough in your own language, let alone a foreign one. The bulk of this post and the Page that accompanies it – I ‘double-up’ in order to make finding places on the blog easier – is my translation of the summary of Jean Vaquer’s 4-year work at the site. And the first problem encountered is what to call such a site. Une enceinte annulaire du Néolithique final is the title he gives it – but when Google Translator returned with ‘A pregnant annular Neolithic’ , I realised I was going to have to do it the long way.
This site is one of ‘six enceintes à large fossé ‘- ‘six pregnant wide gap’? Or a hillfort? An oppidum? A defensive enclosure? A circular ditch-and-dyke encampment?
Vaquer himself, in an academic paper, calls it ‘a fortified languedocian late neolithic site’ – which is the bare minimum. I will call it variously a hillfort, as it is located on a hill though modest at 112 metres/350 ft. and it is fortified with two concentric earth-banks and a wide ditch plus wooden palissade [palisade,or fence] – a ringfort, and a defensive enclosure. For as I soon realised – this structure was unlike any other in the region: certainly no ordinary encampment/habitation and no proto trading-village or oppidum, which were built over a thousand years later – though often confusingly, but not surprisingly, on the same site.
Jean Vaquer’s research has revealed a unique example of Neolithic architecture in southern France.
Simulation et modélisation architecturale: Patrick Pérez et Frédéric Lesueur
Continued, with more photos, plans and text, on the Mourral-Millegrand Ringfort Page.