Protohistoric surrounding wall of La Rode

Building Heritage
Principal
GPS coordinate : 44.263540 3.413278

In the early Iron Age (in the 7th century a.C.), because of the influx of people the Celts moved to the Grands Causses and settled there permanently. First, they built simple stone walls on the edges of the plateaus to prevent access to a rocky promontory which was still naturally protected on at least two sides.

Then, by the 6th century a.C., more elaborate defensive works were built on the plateaus. The walls are now fully closed : these are protohistoric surrounding walls. Three of them are known on the Causse Méjean, and in particular the one at Hures-la-Parade, on the top of a large hill at 1107 m. From there the eye can see in every direction, to the Aubrac region, to Mont Lozère and Mont Aigoual… That’s why this site has been chosen. But there are also other reasons that explain the site selection : there is an old path not far from it and also a spring at the bottom of the hill.

The wall is 150 metres long and 100 metres wide and surrounds an almost perfectly flat area of more than one hectare.

The original wall was 4 metres high. It is a dry stone wall which was built with fairly rudimentary techniques. This type of fragile construction hasn’t stood upto the time. The stones collapsed so that the wall which is now a scree is only 2 metres high but up to 8 metres wide ! The wall was surrounded by a ditch to increase the efficiency of the protection system. It can still be seen at many places on the site (especially in the north-west). In the wall there are two doors which are still visible.

Rectangular-shaped houses were built against the inside wall. Pottery, food leftovers and especially a high quantity of horse bones have been discovered.

The place was occupied continuously from the 6th to the 1rst century a.C., and also probably up to the Gallo-Roman period (in fact, a Roman coin from the 3rd century was discovered there).

Nothing was built in the central part of the surrounding wall, which was probably a place dedicated to the flocks. The rock piles which can be seen there today are probably later.

From the South West of the surrounding wall, some tumuli can be seen, where people who lived there were probably buried.

Crédit photo : Jean-Marc Bouthet

Photo credit : Jean-Marc Bouthet

Le parement interne de l'enceinte de Drigas dégagé par la fouille sur quelques mètres. Crédit photo : Marc Lemonnier (http://www.reveeveille.net)

The inside wall. Photo credit : Marc Lemonnier (http://www.reveeveille.net)

Le bourrelet témoin du fossé qui entourait l'enceinte protohistorique de Drigas Crédit photo : Marc Lemonnier (http://www.reveeveille.net)

There is an earth bank where was once the ditch that surrounded the wall. Photo credit : Marc Lemonnier (http://www.reveeveille.net)