Ambrussum | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Ambrussum

Villetelle, Occitania, France

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Ambrussum

Ambrussum is a Pre-Roman oppidum and Roman archeological site in Provence, once a staging point and small town on the Via Domitia, the Roman road between the Alps and the Pyrenees.

Ambrussum history

Northeast of the French village of Lunel, where the Via Domitia crossed the Vidourle River, lies the ruins of Roman Ambrussum.

This interesting archaeological sites holds three main attractions, the Iron Age defended settlement known as the Oppidum, a Roman era staging post complex and the remains of the nearby Roman bridge. The river was once spanned by this magnificent 11-arch stone bridge, the first century BC Pont Ambroix, of which only one arch now remains.

The hilltop site Colline de Devès had human settlements as far back as 2300 BC. A bit more recently, the Gauls built a walled settlement here around 300 BC. From this hilltop vantage point, you can see the Nages Oppidum on its hilltop to the northeast, towards Nîmes.

The Romans conquered the area around 120 BC, and fortified the oppidum with an improved surrounding wall including 21 towers. The 12 acre enclosed space included an active town, especially from the time of the Ambroix bridge and staging area, 30 BC, until about 100 AD when it was abandonded.

The lower part of the site, beside the river, was a large staging area, which the Romans installed every 10-15 km along their main routes.  The remains here are only the foundations, visible in the fields on the other side of the fence beside the current dirt track. Information panels have facsimile drawings and information in French and English.

The staging area was a Roman mansio, an official stopping place for Roman officials and travelers on official business. The Ambrussum site included hotels, baths and industrial buildings, beside the Pont Ambroix across the river.

Ambrussum today

A new visitor’s centre (established in 2011) and museum exists for history buffs and one can walk the rutted old cobblestone roads to the Oppidum and see the reconstructed ramparts dating to before the Roman period.

To tour the Oppidum site, you can walk down the main path to the Pont Ambroix, then branch right, up the hillside and loop through the main oppidum archeological sites.

Guided visits are available of the oppidum site on Saturdays and Sundays, October to May, according to the information panel.

Getting to Ambrussum

You can find Roman archaeological site of Ambrussum around 7 km from Lunel, 35 km from Nimes and 30 km from Montpellier via the RN113. In Lunel, head towards Sommières, then Villetelle, and then follow the signs to the “Oppidum d’Ambrussum”.

If travelling via the A9, take the exit to Lunel, drive towards Lunel, then Villetelle, and then follow the signs to “Oppidum d’Ambrussum”.

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