Lattara and the Etruscans
At the end of the 6th century BC, a monumental rampart was built on what was then a peninsula, bordered to the east and west by two arms of the river Lez, and forming an overhang in the lagoon: this was the birth of Lattara. This fortification marks the beginning of a large-scale urban planning programme where the construction techniques employed, as well as the pottery unearthed, testify to the presence of a trading community from Etruria. The Etruscan presence in Lattara is part of a regional context in which, since the end of the 7th century, contacts and exchanges have taken place between the indigenous populations and the Mediterranean sailors. Around 475 B.C. an episode of destruction, apparently widespread, occurred, with traces of fire and the eviction of the Etruscan component. The urban space was then reorganised and a significant change took place. Lattara now appears to be a fundamentally indigenous city, although it is deeply influenced by the Greek influence of Massalia.
Active archaeological research
Initial work on the Lattara archaeological site, carried out by Henri Prades and the Painlevé archaeological group in the 1960s and 1970s, made it possible to determine the duration of the occupation of the ancient city. A series of rescue excavations, in the pre-Roman habitat and the Gallo-Roman necropolis, also gave an idea of the considerable extent of the city. As early as 1983, planned research conducted by the CNRS (now UMR 5140 - Archaeology of Mediterranean Societies Laboratory) largely confirmed the richness of the site and its exceptional potential for the study of the Mediterranean protohistoric habitat. Since then, the Lattara archaeological site has continued to mobilise international multidisciplinary teams on the occasion of annual excavations. This in-depth work carried out by the archaeologists contributes to renew year after year our knowledge of this protohistoric port city.
Inside the Henri Prades museum
© L. Jennepin
Bust of a warrior, around 500 BC
© L. Damelet, CNRS-CCJ
Aerial view of the archaeological site of Lattara
With the lagoon and the sea in the background © L. Damelet, CNRS-CCJ
The Henri Prades Museum
© L. Jennepin
Fragment of Attic pottery
With Apollo and Artemis, 440-430 BC © L. Damelet, CNRS-CCJ
Archaeologival finds from the schola
i.e. the headquarters of the professional associations of Lattara, 150-200 AD © L. Damelet, CNRS-CCJ