From farm to villa

Starting in the mid-1st century CE, Loupian was part of a wider development of the villa in Narbonese Gaul. The architectural ascension of the estate model was not the result of a break, but rather a reshuffling of the earlier farm type. A single ensemble was used for structures to underscore the owner's social standing and others for the equipment needed to farm the estate. Significantly, the wings of the early 1st century CE farm where workers were housed were maintained. The addition of a central residence meant that storage areas from earlier periods had to be eliminated. Agricultural implements and equipment were placed in a third section, with the construction of a huge warehouse.

It's possible that such a project required a knowledge of the recommendations of those authors who wrote about agriculture, but it certainly demanded a set of urban skills – given the systematic use of lime cement, specific techniques used to decorate the various rooms and the way in which the bathing area was built. We should not exaggerate the monumentality of the whole. The building on the slope are not built on costly masonry foundations, but on terraces, which were much cheaper to build and closer to farming technology. This example reveals the possibility of the involvement of a upper-class figure from one of the cities in Narbonese Gaul.


Interactive document - The Loupian Villa under the Early Roman Empire

The Loupian Villa under the Early Roman Empire

In the late 1st century, the estate had the appearance of a villa, organised around three courtyards, with the estate owner's residence in the centre.
S. Cugnet / La Forme © MCC
Interactive document - The villa under the Early Roman Empire, the adaptation of an architectural model

The villa under the Early Roman Empire, the adaptation of an architectural model

The architect used the buildings from the previous farm to create a new architectural ensemble, in which we can see the major functions of the villa as described by the various Roman authors. The role of rural residence is clearly visible here.
© Ch. Pellecuer, MCC-DRAC Languedoc-Roussillon
Interactive document - Elevated constructions on the terraces

Elevated constructions on the terraces

These cross-sections show the relative modesty of the project. The site's natural topography, with the presence of small valleys, was used to built well-drained courtyards, and the buildings were built on basic terraces, differing little from agricultural arrangements of the same type.
© Ch. Pellecuer et J.-M. Pène, MCC-DRAC Languedoc-Roussillon

Map of changes in occupation of the Loupian site

© Ch. Pellecuer, MCC-DRAC Languedoc-Roussillon