Bronze age “capital city” found in France with lots of goodies.

A Bronze Age hillfort in France may represent a lost Celtic capital city, archaeologists said after finding treasures there including jewellery, weapons and chariot parts.

The priceless trove was unearthed near Gannat in France’s Allier department, some 80 miles northwest of Lyon, by experts from the University of Toulouse–Jean Jaurès.

Excavations revealed a large — 30 hectares in total — fortified settlement which would have sported a double row of ramparts and 20-feet-high stone walls.

The site has yielded hundreds of items thought to have been buried in around 800 BC as part of a religious ritual. Such abundance is rare from French hillforts.

Indeed, it represents one of the richest metal deposits sites from the Bronze Age ever discovered in Europe, experts have said.

The excavations also represent something of a victory for posterity over looters — who had begun to plunder some of the treasures from the site back in 2017.

During the time of the Gannat Hill Fort, the Allier region had significant economic value due to the navigable Sioule river and local tin deposits for making bronze.

The treasure found at the Gannat site was spread across five different deposits — one of which was already being targeted by scavengers, explained team leader and archaeologist Pierre-Yves Milcent of the University of Toulouse–Jean Jaurès.

‘We intervened on this site because there was looting by people equipped with metal detectors who then resell their loot on the internet, where there is a whole parallel market,’ he explained.

‘The excavations are not complete, but we already have around 800 objects, the majority intact.

‘This is also the first time that we have found four intact hoards that we can excavate in the laboratory under the best conditions.

‘Usually it is the illegal detectors who find the deposits and they do not pay attention to the arrangement of the objects, which is catastrophic.’

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