Discovery of a settlement and a non-funerary metal deposit of the 8th century B.C. in the bed of the Hérault at Agde at the site of La Motte
In February 2004 an underwater survey carried out in Hérault, at a site called La Motte near Agde, resulted in the partial discovery and mapping of a prehistoric settlement. Among the recorded finds are building timbers, pottery, animal remains and grinding implements. The surface pottery was collected systematically, in order to gain a sample for analysis and dating. This sample can be directly compared with the usual series of Late Bronze Age sites in the Languedoc. An assemblage of bronze
... mblage of bronze objects from the settlement period was found in the building debris and recovered en bloc. This was investigated in several smaller blocks in the laboratory (CREAM Vienne) and produced 333 finds, mainly from dress, which differ from the later depots of the Launac-type. The investigation of the depot is the subject of a separate paper (Verger / Dumont / Moyat / Mille in this volume). For the first time in Europe an assemblage of metal objects from a prehistoric river settlement was recovered in situ. Usually, such finds, if they even reach the archaeologists, come from dredging-work and are considered without context. During the dives the surveyed zone was recorded bathymetrically. The resulting picture shows clearly that the settlement lay on a shallow site, i. e. a flat bank, an island, a river sill of the Hérault or a hillock in a lagoon. Whatever, this discovery will result in the question of the settlement of Agde before the 7th century B. C. being reassessed. This find also points to a hitherto unsuspected potential of river settlements under water in the south of France.