A unique site in Europe

Nothing about this place is normal, from the project's launch and construction to its function and opening. Everything here is different and off the beaten track.

It’s a great human adventure which started out with a team of 2, then 5 people in the field and now has 11 in all with the association’s board of directors; a team of friends who all share the same passion.

They used the latest research and scientific data to build an archaeological reconstruction of a Gaul village with twenty buildings.

To begin with, people may have laughed at these Gauls, as we still call them, but they’ve done it all; historians, researchers, farmers, carpenters, thatchers, stonemasons, administrators and managers to make their impossible dream a reality.

Alone for years with no money, just vague promises and a plot of land provided by the council. It’s amazing what they achieved after ten years working on the project

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The bar has been set very high here

As soon as you arrive, you’re blown away by the huge moat, embankment and rampart that runs for 200 metres and surrounds the village. In the centre, a fortified gate seals the most exposed side of the village, with one side protected by a high cliff and the other by the Garonne.

The village covers 6 hectares. A huge building greets you on arrival. Venture further and you’ll find gates, ramparts, houses and paths to find your way.

A bubble, a haven, a peaceful place radiating mystery.

There’s a reason why the site is here, in the Volvestre region just ½ hour from Toulouse (50km). Several Gallic sites have been discovered in the vicinity. The tribe that occupied the Toulouse region and far beyond were known as the Volcae Tectosages.

The site is a real laboratory where the focus is on people past and present. It may be a visitor attraction, but teachers, scientists and researchers will find food for thought here. The Archeosite is an all-encompassing resource centre and hosts conferences, talks, exhibitions and concerts.

This reconstruction unleashes your imagination, takes your mind off everyday comforts and may even make your dreams come true…

Explore the village

Outside the village

The farming and breeding area lies in front of the village ramparts.


Gallic domestic animals were small. Nonetheless, archaeological digs have found that all tribes kept a lot of livestock.

The Gauls were farmers first and foremost and didn’t hunt much. They ate dog, mutton, beef and fowl (geese, ducks and chickens) which were also sacrificed at religious festivals. The pigs ate village litter and cold cuts were very popular.

Milk and cheese came from goats, cows and sheep, which also provided wool. Bulls were used as draught animals to plough the fields whilst horses were trained for war. Wild boar was considered a sacred animal and rarely eaten.


The Gauls often built huge fortifications to protect the tribe or simply as a show of power. With natural protection from the river on one side and cliff on the other, the site brings to mind a barred spur. The main entry to the village is protected by a rampart and fortified gate.

Fishing district

Gaul tribes settled near water for their protection, livelihood and the advantages of being on a trade route.

Three buildings showcase various fishing trades around a fish pond: making nets, pots and boats, preparing and smoking fish. The buildings here have different structures: two houses have gable walls with axial columns, known as two-nave houses. The third has a roof with three naves.

In high season, visitors can walk down a path to the shores to see the small Gallic boats called coracles.


Gaul wickerworkers managed to make coracles. Latin writers such as Caesar and Pliny the Elder wrote about these small round or oval boats. The boats were made from a wicker frame covered in leather and were so light you could carry them on your shoulders. This primitive type of boat was used by the Bretons at the time of Julius Caesar’s invasion. The latter wrote a description of it and even used it during his Spanish campaign. Writers at the time said the leather was horse or bull hide.

The Irish Currach is an example of a coracle that’s still used today, particularly on the River Spey. There are other similar boats around the world: the Indian bull boat, Iraqi kuphar, Vietnamese thung chai and Tibetan ku-dru and kowas.

Main street: the crafts district

A group of houses lines the main street. These double-apse houses with gable walls on the street house and showcase different crafts: weaving, dyeing, spinning, felt making and basketry alongside metal trades which were very important in the 2nd Iron Age.

Textile workshops: spinning, dyeing, weaving, felting
The weaving and felting workshops in the double-apse houses introduce visitors to techniques that are mainly done by machine today. The vertical loom is the most recognisable. While luxury fabrics were widespread among the elite, the plant and animal remains found on archaeological sites show the diversity of the fibres used (wool, nettle, linen, hemp, etc.).

Metalwork and minting
Metalwork has a vital role in this village. That means coppersmiths, blacksmiths, silversmiths and coin mints all play a major role in the crafts district.

The botanical trail

A botanical trail details which species were grown back then for food, medicine, dyeing, weaving or even magic!
Agriculture began around 9600 BC. During the Iron Age (500 BC), there were farms dotted all over the Gaulish countryside and iron tools were used to achieve harvests that made Gaul “Rome’s granary”. They already used manure to improve soil quality and rotated crops to prevent the spread of disease and weeds. They grew grains (wheat, barley, oats, millet), pulses (lentils, peas, broad beans) and oil seeds (flax, hemp, camelina, poppy). The Gauls grew several varieties of wheat (spelt, einkorn and starch) and used the flour to make galettes (pancakes).

Fruit and vegetables began to be domesticated in prehistoric times. Thousands of years of selection and farming have resulted in today’s varieties. The Gauls apparently grew vegetables such as onions, carrots, turnips, parsnips, cabbage and garlic. They were keen foragers and picked wild fruit and vegetables. Raspberries, redcurrants, elderberries, strawberries, apples, pears, plums and grapes were also dried to eat.
They also used plants for medicinal purposes. Some plants were considered sacred and had rituals attached to them e.g. mistletoe was gathered by the druid during religious ceremonies.


The bronzier’s workshop

In the village, a bronzier may be both a foundryman and a blacksmith. The thousands of objects found during excavations show it was a thriving trade. The site tended to be outdoors, away from residential buildings. It is the only chattel house in the village and perfectly captures this form of architecture set in a groundsill rather than being anchored into the ground. There are no piles or posts anchoring it to the ground, only the pointed roof and truss beams secure the house in place.

High sanctuary

The place of worship is separate from the residential area. Fencing marks out the sacred space which tends to tie into the natural elements: water, earth and sky. The pits where sacrifices were made are inside the enclosure. The remains of these offerings were displayed in ditches, sometimes with weapons.

Like other pagan tribes in Europe, the Gauls believed in polytheism. But unlike the Greeks and Romans, they did not have a clear pantheon of gods. Most of their gods were associated with a tribe or a place.

Like their neighbours, they worshipped natural elements: rivers, springs and forests. Some deities did have more of a cult following than others. The gods were won over with offerings of precious objects and animal and human sacrifices. The Celtic and Gaul religion stands out for having a priestly and learned class of people.

Sacred spring

This site is a perfect example of worshipping nature divinities and, more specifically, healing waters and springs.

Pottery district

Pottery was made both domestically and by craftsmen during the Iron Age. Professional pottery expanded when mass-produced turned pottery became widespread in 200 AD. Several different kilns demonstrate the skills of Gallic potters.

The house home to the potter’s workshop is unusual in that its walls are very high (2.5 metres). That means it can have a first floor to provide good ventilation for drying the potter’s work.

Gallic HQE architecture

Along the way, one house usually catches people’s attention. It may look like a Gaul house but it was actually meant to be a home.

This High Environmental Quality house is based on a building concept that is over 2500 years old. Fully lined with wood and insulated with an air vent, this 100m2 house has an attic floor with 2 bedrooms.

It has a large living room, kitchen, toilet and bathroom on the ground floor. It just goes to show that with €15,000 and a bit of elbow grease, a self-builder can build this kind of home that takes care of both the environment and local community. We’ve also caught the attention of certain sustainable architects too.


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Groups and school, the Gallic Village welcomes you all year long on reservation!

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