SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: plural oppida CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A Roman term, coined by Caesar, for the fortified Celtic towns he found in his campaigns in Gaul in 58-51 BC. The Roman oppidum was a town which served as administrative center for its surrounding area, or, in the provinces, was a community of Roman citizens, either Italian immigrants or enfranchised natives. The term is now used for comparable sites in Celtic territory, from Spain and Britain to the Carpathians. Celtic oppida of the 2nd and 1st centuries BC were large permanent settlements, usually of hillforttype, the first true towns in Europe north of the Alps. Oppida also served as centers for trade, industry, market, craft production, and religion.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An Iron Age site where the last Celtic stand against the Roman invasion in 52 BC took place. It is an oppidum with remains of Caesar's siege works.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Mont Beurvray CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An Iron Age Gallic town and oppidum in central France. It was the capital of the Aedui tribe at the time of Caesar and the site where he defeated the Helvetii tribe, the climax of his first campaign in Gaul (58 BC). Augustus moved the inhabitants to his new town Augustodunum (Autun), about 30 km away, in 12 BC. Excavations in the 19th century revealed remains of both the Iron age settlement and the Roman period, including a large temple, houses, and metalworking workshops. Imported objects such as coins, amphorae, black and red glazepotterydating to before the Roman conquest have been found, indicating that Bibracte was a major trading and production center in the late Iron Age.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Camulodunum, Camolodunum; Colneceaste; Colcestra CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A district and borough northeast of London, England that was the capital of the pre-Roman Belgic ruler Cunobelinus by 43 AD, formerly an Iron Age Celtic settlement (oppidum) surrounded by dikes. Though it burned down in 60 AD, Colchester soon became one of the chief towns in Roman Britain and there are surviving walls and gateways from this period. Some of the masonry of the temple to Claudius survives in the foundations of the Norman castle.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Iron Age oppidum (promontory fort) in Hérault, southern France, first founded in the 6th century BC. It had defenses of Cyclopean masonry and well laid-out stone houses, both of which are very similar to those found on Greek settlements in the area. Large storage jars and silos excavated into the tufa were probably for grain or water. Nearby is a large cremationcemetery of the 3rd century with inurned burials. A major reconstruction took place in c 200 BC and then again in the 4th century.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An important oppidum near Aix-en-Provence, France, a Celto-Ligurian structure built in the third century BC (middle La Tène culture). It was the capital of the Salyes until destroyed by the Romans in the year c 125 BC. Entremont had a sanctuary with sculptured figures and finds include heads and torsos carved in the round, and four-sided limestone pillars with severed human heads and skulls carved in relief. It had ramparts built of large stone blocks, with watch towers, and inside were streets, houses of dry stone, drainage and water systems, all laid out on a rectilinear system.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An Iron Age oppidum and capital of the Averni, in Puy de-Dôme, France. Vercingetorix, the Gallic chief, took refuge there in 52 BC and repulsed Julius Caesar's attempts to capture the site -- the first outright defeat of Caesar in Gaul. It is an historic monument.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: hill fort CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: Any well-fortified structure located on a hilltop and enclosed by at least one wall of stone and earth, commonly referring to sites of the Late Bronze Age or Iron Age. The earliest date to c 1000 BC. Some hillforts contain houses and were perhaps royal residences or, in the case of large forts of oppidumtype, true towns; others seem to lack permanent buildings, and were probably refuges where the people and flocks from the surrounding area took shelter in times of crisis. At first they were usually promontory forts, but in the last four centuries BC the true hillfort, with defense works following the contours, became the predominant form. From about the second century BC until the Roman conquest, hillforts were common throughout Celtic lands. In Britain most of the great forts were built during the two and a half centuries before the conquest of 43 AD, but in Ireland and highland Britain hillforts continued to be built and used for several more centuries. They are found throughout much of Europe, except Russia and Scandinavia. In size, hillforts ranged from less than one acre to several hundred acres.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Large oppidum of the late Iron Age in Bavaria, Germany, near Ingolstadt, dated to the La Tène period c 200 BC. It was one of the largest oppida in Europe. Manching, at that time adjacent to the Danube, may have been a regional market. The defense was an elaborate construction consisting of four-mile-long walls built of timber and stones and including four gateways. The organization of the settlement was preplanned, with streets up to 30 feet wide and regular rows of rectangular buildings in front of zones containing pits and working areas; other areas were enclosed for granaries or horse stalls. The site was divided into work areas for particular crafts, such as wood, leather, and iron working. Coins were minted and used on the site. There is evidence of a violent end to the settlement c 50 BC.
CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A type of rampart used in Europe during the La Tène Iron Age; coined by Julius Caesar to describe the defenses of the Celtic oppidum of Avaricum (Bourges). The ramparts were made of earth and stone with horizontal timber lacing and held together with iron nails. The spaces of the beams were filled by stone walling. It was often used at great Iron Age hillforts of Europe during prehistory.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A term for the smallest unit of land in the territorial system of Italy: a country area, not a village or town, and distinguished from oppidum and vicus. The inhabitants of this 'locality' were called pagani.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A late Iron Age sanctuary in Bouches-du-Rhône, France, where there was a Celto-Ligurian oppidum and famous stone sculptures. These included large human figures seated in a cross-legged position, and a portal with niches for the display of severed human heads as it was the site of a skull or severed-head cult. Many carvings bear traces of their original paint. The sanctuary was probably of the late 3rd or 2nd century BC and was destroyed by the Romans in 123 BC during their conquest of Provence.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Roman Segobriga CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A local oppidum of central Spain which was an Iberian settlement from about 700 BC. It was taken in about 80 BC by the Romans and occupied at the beginning of the 8th century AD by the Moors, from whom Alfonso VI recaptured it in 1079. It is famous for its grand-scale aqueduct, attributed to Trajan (98-117 AD). The system brought water from a distance of some 16 km. The masonry bridge (El Puente) was used to span the final depression before the city, and is close to 900 m high.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Late Iron Age oppidum in Moravia, occupied from the mid-2nd century BC and then abandoned a century later. There was manufacturing, including potterymaking in kilns.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Iron Age oppidum in Bohemia of the 2nd century BC, La Tène period. Fine painted ceramics and coins were made there.