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Le Tarn à Montans
Le Tarn à Montans
Towns & villages


Montans is situated just a short distance from Gaillac, on the banks of the River Tarn. The site has been inhabited since prehistoric times and some of its remarkable excavations will really help you understand the history of the region and its people.

Montans and its prehistoric history

Montans enjoys natural defences thanks to its dominant position over the River Tarn and the Rieutort stream, which is why it was a perfect place for a settlement in prehistoric times.

Excavations here have revealed traces of human habitation since prehistoric times, while the settlement got bigger during the Iron Age (around 1100 BC). A Gallic ‘oppidum’ (or fortified camp set on a hillside) dates back to the second Iron Age (known as the La Tène period, around 450 years BC).

Pottery making is indelibly linked to Montans. The presence of silt and clay deposits in an area that was already sitting on a recognised trading route made the development of a commercial pottery industry possible.

The Roman occupation only made Montans more important as it became one of the main centres of production for Samian pottery in the entire Roman Empire. This pottery was superior quality tableware, characterised by its red colour and varnish. Alongside Samian pottery, Montans also produced a type of pottery known as ‘Common Ceramic’, along with amphoras (jugs with a narrow neck and two handles that were used to transport locally-produced wines), and building materials such as bricks and tiles.

The shipping channels of the River Tarn and the River Garonne helped trade to develop, and pottery and ceramics from Montans have been found throughout western France, and as far afield as Spain, Brittany and Great Britain.

Montans no longer has a pottery industry, but there are still plenty of winemakers in the area who are passionate about the land and continue the work that was started by the Romans all those years ago!

This rich history and a large number of archeological digs have seen the creation of an archeological museum, Archéosite, in Montans, where you can relive these ancient times thanks to exhibitions, workshops and shows.

Roman Days’ in Montans

The month of April sees ‘Roman Days’ taking place in Montans, an unmissable event retracing history that takes you right back in time. A costumed reconstruction traces the rapid rise of this little Gallic village that would go on to conquer the Roman Empire thanks to the incredible commercial success of its pottery and ceramics industries.

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