2000 year old unknown Celtic treasures
People inhabited the Morvan long before the calender. The best example of that are the Gauliers that have founded a large trading town named Bibracte on the Mont Beuvray. The Romans, being tempted by the craftmanship of the Gauliers, have expelled the Gauliers commanded by Julius Caesar and incorporated this region including Bibracte into the Roman empire. A few decades after the Roman conquest, Bibracte was abandoned in favour of Autun, 25 kilometres from Mont Beuvray. Without a continuous settlement to disturb or efface the site, Bibracte remained for modern archaeology to rediscover. The first excavations were begun at the site by the wine merchant Gabriel Bulliot between 1867 and 1895. His nephew Joseph Déchelette, author of a famous Manuel d’Archéologie continued the excavations between 1897 and 1907 Today Mont Beuvray is generally credited as the ancient Bibracte. The site straddles the borders of the French départements of Nièvre and Saône-et-Loire in Burgundy. The top of Mont Beuvray offers a stunning view over the Morvan and the rest of Burgundy. The site is an archaeological park at the centre of a protected forest, and a site of cooperative European archaeological efforts, a training ground for young archaeologists as well as a centre for interpreting Gaulish culture for a popular audience. Important international excavations take place at Mont Beuvray, with teams from the universities of Sheffield, Kiel, Budapest, Vienna and Leipzig. Walking through the area Bibracte comes to life under your feet. You see fortification walls, foundations of working places and of a complete residence. Excavations are still taking place and you can see the archaeologists at work. In the museum at the foot of the mountain you can get to know Celtic culture. Bibracte is worth a visit. Much thought is put into making the museum appealing to kids. They can participate in all sorts of activities referring to Celtic life 2000 years ago.
HOW TO GET THERE?
From campsite Des 2 Rives it’s only a 10 mile trip to the ancient town and the museum. Take the D61 to Saint-Léger-sous-Beuvray and then follow the signs Bibracte. You can also take the bike. By doing so you will soon realise why Bibracte was built right here 2000 years ago. It’s situated strategically at the top of Mont Beuvray and one ascent from the campsite right to Bibracte. The advantage is that on the way home you just have to brake.
Of course Bibracte has its own website, also in English.