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Lébous

  • J. Arnal, H. Martin-Granel and E. Sangmeister
Extract

We have been 50 bold as to call the LCbous site a ‘castle’ because, architecturally, it is in plan very like a medieval castle: it is trapeze-shaped, measuring 50 m. on two sides and 75 m. on the other two sides, and it is reinforced at its angles and along its walls with round towers. The enclosure is of dry stone walling about a metre thick, and the towers are about 2 m. 50 cm. in diameter inside, and spaced 24 m. apart from each other. On the north face a tower has been replaced by a rectangular entrance protected by two walls arranged like antennae (FIG. 2). The walls now stand only 60 to 80 cm. high, but one imagines that originally they rose to a height of 1½ m. (PL. XXVIII).

It is not suggested that we are dealing with a castle in the strict sense of that word: surely Ltbous is a fortified village site, and as such unique in the prehistory of western Europe and of very great importance. We need not concern ourselves here with the history of the discovery of the site, except to say that in the course of the excavation of seven Hallstatt barrows, tower no. 3 was found underneath them. As the towers and walls are all covered by Hallstatt and Bronze Age barrows, a late Roman wall, medieval. constructions, and even ploughed fields (surprising for garrigue country), it is not surprising that it took nearly seven years to discover the true nature of this fortified village.

The site is 1 km. south of the village of St-Mathieu and in the commune of St-Mathieu-de-Tréviers on the ridge known as the Ltbous [1]. Our excavations have already been published in France and Germany [2]; here we wish to summarize our work for English readers and to refer to the most recent excavations, hitherto unpublished.

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Notes

1 Bulletin de la Sociité Préhistorique Français 1961, 571.

2 Germania, 41, 1963, 229 .

3 Ampurias, XXI, 1959, 249 .

4 Ampurias, loc. cit., 254.

Lébous (St-Mathieu-de-Tréviers) is in the department of the Hérault in the south of France. Its excavation was started in 1954 by Dr Arnal of Tréviers and his colleagus Henri Martin-Granel; six years later they were joined by Professor Dr Sangmeister of the Vorgeschichtliche Institut in the University of Freiburg i. Br. The result—now interpreted by the excavators as ‘a prehistoric castle’, are of great interest to students of the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. in the Mediterranean and Western Europe.

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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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