Commanding the valley-plain of the Aude, at the edge of a plateau, the Cros hill-fort was built at the end of the Bronze Age (VIII-VII bc). This defensive construction is the most complete exemple of a fortification of this period in west Languedoc. The 470 metre long wall encloses an area of 5,25 hectares or 13 acres. It was constructed without elaborate care in dry-stone walling, 2.5 m. wide, with two facets and a rubble in-fill. Its original height was 2 metres – now reduced to one. Bastions or towers are still visible: these would have been higher. Wooden palissades would raise the height further.
Now covered by pines that provide welcome shade – the original fort would have stood on clear ground: at 350 m. above sea-level this would have been cold and exposed in winter, and very hot in summer.
Go to Pages, on the right, for more info, photos and references.
A week of winter sailing round Sardinia has left me deeply impressed with the richness and complexity of the prehistoric cultures that thrived there. The late neolithic Ozieri culture followed by the Filigosa, Abealzu, and Monte Claro cultures – up until the early Bronze Age Bonnanaro culture – all left a dazzling wealth of architecture and artifacts, far more sophisticated than the vestiges here in Languedoc. From hypogeic multi-chambered tombs with ornamental carvings and pillars, to detailed bronze statues of goddesses and bulls and castles – these sites speak of a highly organised and creative civilisation.
The hill of Monte Baranta gives its name to a remarkable pre-nuragic [ Early Bronze Age, 2500–2200 BCE ] megalithic complex consisting of various structures: a fortress, a long wall, a sacred area, and a settlement. The site must have been very overgrown, since it was unknown until well into the 20th. century. An extensive survey of the North West province of Sardinia was conducted by Nissardi, who investigated with great care the Olmedo territory. Even so, in the 1922 Governmental survey of Buildings and Monuments, it was absent. The megalithic complex of Monte Baranta seems to appear for the first time in 1958, in the publication of the Military Institute of Geography under the name Nuraghe Su Casteddu – the Castle.
More photos and info on the Monte Baranta Page, in the panel on the right.