A patchwork of watersheds

The area around the Loupian villa is bounded to the south by the shores of the Etang de Thau, to the west by a smallish coastal river, the Pallas, and to the north and east by the Collines de la Mourre – Jurassic-era hills covered in garrigue. Rural Roman-era farms tended to focus on developing arable lands of less than a thousand hectares, with highly individualised features.

The land cultivated by villas and farms lies over a substrate of miocene-era marl that is particularly prone to erosion by both wind and water. It takes the form of a patchwork of gradated watersheds ranging in size from several dozen to several hundred hectares. Watercourses, most of them simple wadi, compartmentalised the landscape. Today, their beds are channelled and bounded by build-up banks. Each of these landscape units features a variety of slopes – some sharp, others more gentle and thus more suitable for building on. Today, these coastal lands are a series of terraced plots, typical examples of how the Languedoc lands were developed for wine-growing over the past few centuries.

Medias

Interactive document - The Loupian area: a patchwork of watersheds

The Loupian area: a patchwork of watersheds

The area around the Loupian villa is bounded to the south by the shores of the Etang de Thau, to the west by a smallish coastal river, the Pallas, and to the north and east by the garrigue-covered Jurassic-era hills. It covers some 800 hectares, and is broken up into five major landscape groupings of hills and basins. The largest of these reach 200 hectares, like the villa's watershed, and there are five smaller units of a few dozen hectares each.
© Ch. Pellecuer, MCC-DRAC Languedoc-Roussillon

The Loupian area, a patchwork of watersheds

Excavations and site prospecting have allowed archaeologists to sketch out the major occupation phases of the lands within the Loupian space. After a phase in which farms were scattered, in the 1st century BCE, the Early Empire villa phase began. The Late Antique period was witness to the construction of a veritable estate, which around 1000 CE would be the site of a feudal castrum.
© Ch. Pellecuer, MCC-DRAC Languedoc-Roussillon
Interactive document - A landscape of slopes under cultivation

A landscape of slopes under cultivation

This landscape is still primarily devoted to wine-growing. Higher up, garrigue grows in areas that were only recently still under cultivation.
© Sandra Lebrun, CCNBT
Interactive document - View of the Les Vignaux watershed

View of the Les Vignaux watershed

View from the slope of one of the Loupian area watersheds. In the background, one can make out the lower area drained by the intermittent presence of a brook, but the eye is drawn to the other slope in the landscape.
© Ch. Pellecuer, MCC-DRAC Languedoc-Roussillon
Interactive document - View of the Naigues Saumes watershed

View of the Naigues Saumes watershed

A landscape of slopes, whose gentle curves contain the various watersheds.
© Ch. Pellecuer, MCC-DRAC Languedoc-Roussillon

Map of villas identified in Languedoc-Roussillon


© Ch. Pellecuer, MCC-DRAC Languedoc-Roussillon