Stéphane MAUNE - AHR-01 - Les Campagnes de la cité de Béziers dans l'Antiquité (partie nord-orientale) (IIe s. av. J.C. - VIe s. ap. J.C.),(préf. Monique Clavel-Levêque), 1998, 538 p., 216 ill. (ISBN: 2-907303-14-7)
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Since time immemorial, the middle valley of the Hérault, on the north-eastern edge of the city of Béziers, has provided man with a varied ecosystem, between the fertile alluvial plain, the hillocks and the first foothills of the Escandorgue. This is also a privileged zone of contact between eastern and western Languedoc, between Agde and the mining district of Cabrières.
In this area, extensively farmed since recent prehistoric times, excavations and systematic prospecting have revealed a particularly dense human presence. A catalogue of more than 330 antique sites (settlements, cemeteries, cultural sites…) allows S. Mauné to retrace the history of this romanized landscape : starting with the significant protohistoric occupancy, one can follow the consequences of the Roman conquest, colonial ascendancy, and the hazards to rural establishments confronted with difficulties since the second century A.D. Population dynamics, tied to economic and politico-administrative conditions, lead to a recomposition of the habitat from Antiquity on to the High Middle Ages.
Besides being a microregional study, this work reveals all that an in-depth study of archaeological data, on the long term, can contribute to the understanding of an area long subjected to the presence of man.