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Index Dutch Bronze Age
Index first farmers in the Netherlands

Bibracte, a city of the Gauls (2)

The walls and buildings

(1)   - General information
(3)   - The metals (findings)
(4)   - The metals (techniques)
(5)   - Strange trees
(6)   - Writing
(7)   - Religion , Gallic War
(8)   - Other findings
(9)   - Coins

Oppidum means "fortified site difended by a walls and a trench, site that normally is on a simply defended place". The name derived from the latin "ob pedes", because it was possible to enter only by foot. Sometimes it means a place where people hide, other times a site where people lived permanently. You can neither identify it only with an ancient town nor think that all Celtic oppidae were the same. Sometimes you can't establish if a site was a place where people hided, or a sort of stronghold, or some kind of town. 

Caesar - Gallic War - Book VII, 23 - Walls  (Latin translation)
All Gallic walls are, as a rule, of the following pattern. Poles are laid on the ground at equal intervals of two feet throughout the length of the wall and at right angles thereto. These are fastened on the inside and banked up with a quantity of earth, while the intervals above mentioned are stopped up on the front side with big stones. When these poles have been laid and clamped together a second course is added above, in such fashion that the same interval as before is kept, and the balks do not touch one another, but each is tightly held at a like space apart by the interposition of single stones. So the whole structure is knit together stage by stage until the proper height of the wall has been reached. This work is not unsightly in appearance and variety, with alternate poles and stones which keep their proper courses in straight lines; and it is eminently suitable for the practice defence of cities, since the stone protects from fire and the timber from battery, for with continuous poles, generally forty feet long, tightened on the inside, it can neither be breached nor pulled to pieces.

The positions of the strongholds were generally of one kind. They were set at the end of tongues and promontories, so as to allow no approach on foot, when the tide had rushed in from the sea--which regularly happens every twelve hours--nor in ships, because when the tide ebbed again the ships would be damaged in shoal water. Both circumstances, therefore, hindered the assault of the strongholds; and, whenever the natives were in fact overcome by huge siege works--that is to say, when the sea had been set back by a massive mole built up level to the town walls--and so began to despair of their fortunes, they would bring close inshore a large number of ships, of which they possessed an unlimited supply, and take off all their stuff and retire to the nearest strongholds, there to defend themselves again with the same advantages of position. They pursued these tactics for a great part of the summer the more easily because our own ships were detained by foul weather, and because the difficulty of navigation on a vast and open sea, with strong tides and few--nay, scarcely any--harbours, was extreme.

A reconstructed Gaulish wall, a.k.a. "Murus Gallicus"

The reconstruction in progress

The top of the reconstructed "Murus Gallicus"

The excavated wall. The dark parts once contained wooden poles.

A model of the entry to the "porte du Rebout". 
Note the ditches in front of the walls.
The length of the wall on the right is 40 m.

There were 3 "quartiers" (districts): one for the craftsmen (-women?), the residential district and the public domain that contained the oval fountain (see top of the photo)

The basin, 10.48 m x 3.65 m, was build halfway the 1st century B.C.E., using mathematical and astronomic data. 
Its function is still unknown, but it may even had an astronomic purpose...

Channels were used to lead fresh water through the city

Latin translation:

Caesar - De bello Gallico - Liber III, 12 

Positio et structura oppidorum 
Erant eius modi fere situs oppidorum ut posita in extremis lingulis promunturiisque neque pedibus aditum haberent, cum ex alto se aestus incitavisset, quod [bis] accidit semper horarum XII spatio, neque navibus, quod rursus minuente aestu naves in vadis adflictarentur. Ita utraque re oppidorum oppugnatio impediebatur. Ac si quando magnitudine operis forte superati, extruso mari aggere ac molibus atque his oppidi moenibus adaequatis, suis fortunis desperare coeperant, magno numero navium adpulso, cuius rei summam facultatem habebant, omnia sua deportabant seque in proxima oppida recipiebant: ibi se rursus isdem oportunitatibus loci defendebant. Haec eo facilius magnam partem aestatis faciebant quod nostrae naves tempestatibus detinebantur summaque erat vasto atque aperto mari, magnis aestibus, raris ac prope nullis portibus difficultas navigandi.

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