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“6th century BCE Celtic Oppidum (hill fort) fascinating educational site”

Enserune Archaeological Site
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: The site of Ensérune is one of the most important citadels of the Mediterranean Midi. The excavations, which have been underway since 1915, have revealed the traces of a dwelling dating back to the middle of the 6th century BC and lasting until the start of the 1st century AD. All the archeological objects discovered on the site have been put on display in the museum which is home to a number of outstanding collections. Open:> 1st to 30th April: from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.> 2nd May au 31st August: from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.> 1st to 30th September: from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.> 1st October to 31st March: from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. Last admission 1 hr before closing time. Closed:> Mondays from 1st September to 30th April.> 1st January, 1st May, 1st November, 11th November and 25th December. Admission fees: Adults : 7,50 €; Concessions (18 to 25) = 4,50 €; Free admission: minors under 18*; Free admission: 18-25 years old* (citizens of one of the 27 countries of the EU or are non-European permanent residents of France) * excluding school groups
Springfield, Oregon
Level 6 Contributor
190 reviews
88 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 148 helpful votes
“6th century BCE Celtic Oppidum (hill fort) fascinating educational site”
Reviewed January 23, 2014

The Celtic hill fort of Ensérune, about 10 km from the present day city of Béziers, was settled in the sixth century BCE and thrived until the 1st century CE when its Romanized inhabitants moved down to the plain and built more sprawling villae with typically Roman interior courtyards. The remains of Ensérune are situated high on a hilltop with a commanding view of the surrounding valley. Of course this meant some steep steps to ascend to the summit from the parking lot but it was a beautiful Spring day and the view was certainly worth the effort. There were beautiful flowers along the path that I took time to photograph and once I reached the top I could see all the way to the snow capped Pyranees Mountains about 80 miles away to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south as well as a distinctive natural depression to the north known as the Étang de Montady. It was once a lagoon that was drained in the 13th century and looks very much like a huge bath tub drain.

There is a path that circumnavigates the hilltop and you will see the remains of the fortification walls, the foundations of the dwellings and huge silos (doliums) embedded in the ground. I thought these were ceramic jars but they are actually a cylindrical excavation with a ceramic lip so the stored grain can be hermetically sealed, producing an anaerobic environment to prevent fermentation. There are also several large cisterns used to collect rainwater and even a drainage system to remove waste.

The site of Enserune was originally excavated in the early 20th century and has yielded a wealth of artifacts including both black and red Attic kraters (wine jars), Italic amphoras of different shapes (storage containers for such things as olive oil), funerary urns and grave goods including a variety of Roman centurion buckles and swords from different periods. The swords and scabbards appeared to be ritually "killed" by being folded in half or maybe they were just folded to fit in the burial pit as most tombs found there contained either cinerary urns from a cremation burial or ossuary jars (bone jars).

The small museum on site is well organized and has a very well stocked gift shop. I bought a small Celtic cross and a pair of Celtic patterned earrings as well as a book on the site itself (it was even in English, a rare occurrence at some of the more obscure French attractions) and another on the Cathars as we were now in the heart of Cathar country.

Visited May 2013
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2 Thank mharrsch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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77 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Kiev, Ukraine
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Ancient village of the Gallois”
Reviewed September 25, 2013

Archaeological site on a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside. Nice museum with artifacts from the ancient town. Old granaries still in place in the ground. Close to Beziers. Museum staff are friendly and answer questions.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank mermanjohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winchester, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
152 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
“Give it a go”
Reviewed September 16, 2013

Well worth the visit but do not expect any ticket concessions if you are a pensioner! Well laid out site with a very good museum in the centre but see the site first.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Bill C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Unexpected incredible Gallo-Celtic remains”
Reviewed May 23, 2013

I thought I was just going to see the Malpas tunnel and go for a little walk, but we came across this incredible site of ruins of an ancient village from the 6th Century BC. There had been 3 eras of occupation built on top of each other. You can walk around the ruins and then visit the museum which houses the artifacts found on the site. A good walk and in spring the area was full of wild flowers. There is also a terrific aspect from the top of the hill with views of the entire district.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Saamsomapa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Girona, Spain
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Too expensive for what you see”
Reviewed March 29, 2013

We paid 7.5 €/person to visit the site, which consists of some ruins you only see from far away and a musuem that needs a renovation of style (a little bit outdated). The best thing there is the view to the adjacent former lake of Montardy, but you can already see it from outside of the site. Get around, enjoy the landscape and the atmosphere and, if you are not specially into the subject, save 7.5 €/person.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank lsala66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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