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.