The archaeological site of Bibracte

It is commonly said that Bibracte is a Gallic town under the forest.

The archaeological site of Bibracte is located on Mount Beuvray, in a green setting where the forests are as imposing as the landscape

In the heart of a 1000-hectare forest nestles a town that was home to between 5 and 10,000 inhabitants during the pivotal period of the Roman conquest of Gaul. A short-lived town, capital of the powerful Aedui people, which was a major centre of trade, commerce and politics in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC.

The remains of the town are now surrounded by a green setting. The quality of the landscapes and the biological richness of the environment are such that the entire Mount Beuvray massif has been classified as a site of landscape and scientific interest and is listed as a ZNIEFF and Natura 2000 site, while the summit is classified as a historical monument

Excavations of the ancient town of Bibracte began in 1864. Stopped in 1914, they were resumed in 1984 and are still active today.


Geophysical surveys are used to complete the excavations themselves. Lidar”, a laser remote sensing technique, is also used to establish a very precise survey of the topography of Mount Beuvray, even through the foliage. This allows archaeologists to identify earthworks and excavations caused by human activity, and to decide whether it is worthwhile to carry out test pits or even complete excavations.

At Bibracte there is still work to be done for generations of archaeologists, a long time needed to fully understand the mechanisms of development of the ancient town, to discern its organisation and to measure the rhythm and impact of the intensification of contacts with Rome and the Mediterranean. A long time which also allows students of protohistoric archaeology from all over Europe to train on the Bibracte sites and to build the archaeology of tomorrow.

The European Archeological centre

Located in Glux-en-Glenne, a few kilometres from Mount Beuvray, this unique centre in France brings together the skills of researchers and students to advance knowledge of the Bibracte site and Iron Age archaeological research.

It is a special feature of this centre that it does not have a permanent research team. Here, researchers and students from all over Europe work together to understand the mechanisms of the development of the Celtic town and to discern its organisation. However, an original work site is managed directly by Bibracte archaeologists: the school site, which every summer trains teenagers in the archaeological approach, in real conditions.

The research programme is divided into four-year cycles. The four-year projects are validated by Bibracte’s scientific council, made up of eight European experts, before being submitted to the State services for instruction.

Bibracte provides logistical support, stewardship and scientific coordination of research. The centre is equipped with high-performance facilities to support all stages of the research: site equipment, laboratories, documentation centre, conservation areas, publishing chain, etc.

The centre is also the seat of scientific meetings, an essential training centre for students and researchers, as well as a formidable laboratory for experimentation at the service of the archaeological community and heritage professionals. Since 2012, it has also housed the Conservation and Study Centre of the Burgundy-Franche-Comté Regional Archaeology Service, as well as the branches of several preventive archaeology operators.