The villa and its cropping systems

As in most other parts of Gaul, the villa at Loupian was a rural farm, despite the presence of residential buildings. It supplied food for the inhabitants of the estate and even those of the owner's familia, with its urban lifestyle. The other aspect of production was more speculative, focusing on large and small markets in the city, province and empire. The success of these investments to earn extra income depended on a mixed farming approach based on grains and legumes, to which were added large-scale undertakings such as wine-growing.

The rational exploitation of the estate was based on a system of fallowing and light draught ploughing that was common in Antiquity. The discovery of plant and animal remains during excavations at Loupian, along with elements of farming, tools and production equipment allowed researchers to propose an identification of the primary crops, to estimate their respective share and to pinpoint their location in the vicinity of the villa. Wooded hills and uncultivated areas, where holm oak was abundant, supplied fuel for both everyday needs and crafts. The lagoon provided food for the villa as well as products that could be sold, such as oysters, which urban populations enjoyed, and salt, which was vital for ancient economies.

Medias

Interactive document - Unexpected discoveries at the bottom of a well

Unexpected discoveries at the bottom of a well

It is not unusual to find wells when excavating farms in Languedoc. It has long been known that they could contain discarded objects. Recently, these unique contexts provided crucial data for understanding cropping systems.
© R. Bourgaut, CCNBT
Interactive document - Macro-remains of plants preserved in a wet environment

Macro-remains of plants preserved in a wet environment

Wood, pips, pits and hulls of fruit, but also seeds and grains, were perfectly preserved in the anaerobic environment of the water table. These trapped remains provide information about the environment of farms as well as agricultural practices.
© R. Bourgaut, CCNBT
Interactive document - A Fabre diagram of the varieties under cultivation

A Fabre diagram of the varieties under cultivation

A Languedoc farm based on these macro-remains.
© Fabre
Interactive document - Salt and the salinator inscription

Salt and the salinator inscription

This inscription from the 1st century CE from the lagoon region of Narbonne speaks of two freedmen, one of whom works as a salinator, i.e. a salt vendor, salt farmer or perhaps an employee in a salt-works.
©D. Moulis, service Culture et Patrimoine Ville de Narbonne