Malvieu: A Mediterranean Hillfort of the Early 1st Millennium BCE, France – Institute for Field Research

Location: Montagne Noire, FR

Season: June 16, 2019 to July 13, 2019

Application Deadline: April 5, 2019

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field school

RPA Certified:

Institute for Field Research, Connecticut College, University Bordeaux Montaigne

Project Director:
Dr. Alexis Gorgues

Project Description:

Deep in the heart of the Montagne Noire (Black Mountains) in Southern France, the site of Malvieu is situated on the upper part of a limestone hill overlooking the small valley of Salesses. Malvieu is an oppida or a hillfort — characterized by the predominate features of densely constructed mud-brick and stone houses and streets, enclosed and fortified by a rampart built from dry stones, and built on higher ground relative to the surrounding landscape. It has long been hypothesized that the appearance of oppida in the region was a result of the founding of the Greek colonies in neighboring areas, and the subsequent escalation in seaborne trade in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea causing the native population to develop more productive economies and to construct enclosed, defensible settlements. The excavations in Malvieu, starting in 2001, have largely challenged this dominating, but simplistic, hypothesis. The occupation of the site, in fact, dates back far earlier: to the Late Bronze Age – as early as 1000 BCE. This project presents the unique opportunity to follow the development of an ancient community, from its beginning to its end, during a period that up until a few years ago was to referred to as the Dark Ages.

Informed with the LiDAR coverage data obtained in 2018, the 2019 field season promises to provide new data about uses of space in the settlement. Students should expect to excavate buildings and archaeological features dated to the time period when Greek cities where only villages, Rome was just founded, and when the Phoenicians began their expeditions throughout the Mediterranean. The 2019 season will represent a significant step forward in our understanding of the cultures and social dynamics of a period that remains largely unknown in many regions of the Mediterranean.

Period(s) of Occupation: Bronze Age

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: No prior experience is required to participate in this field school.

Room and Board Arrangements:
Housing will be provided in Saint-Pons-de-Thomières, a charming town of southern France, in the valley of the Jaur, in a small structure called the Campotel du Jaur. Students will be housed in small but comfortable apartments of 4 beds, each one with its own kitchen and bathroom. Apartments will be shared between the US and French students. Most of the meals will be prepared by the students themselves. In the evening, the dinner will be a communal event with the entire team while lunch will be taken separately in each apartment (to provide time for a possible nap). Shopping for ingredients will be done by the staff for the whole team. In such conditions, some accommodation can be made for vegetarians, but at the risk of monotony in the diet (rice, noodles, etc.). Specialized diets such as vegan, kosher, and gluten free will be difficult to accommodate. Cost: Room and Board are included in the cost of the program.

Academic Credit:
8 Semester Credits credits offered by Connecticut College. Tuition is $4,505.

Contact Information:

Institute for Field Reasearch

299 Overland Ave. Suite 103

Los Angeles




Phone: 424-209-1173

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