Mur d'Hannibal

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The site conventionally called Mur d'Hannibal (not connected to Hannibal in any way) is situated at 2643 m a.s.l. on a ridge on the eastern side of the Val d'Entremont, overlooking a large section of the valley which connects the Great St. Bernard pass to the Rhône valley, and controlling the only passable high-altitude path on its eastern flank. It was occupied during the late La Tène and early Roman periods (ca. 70–15 BC). Its main feature is a bracket-shaped defensive dry stone wall of ca. 270 m length and up to 2.1 m height which, with a scarp face as fourth side, encloses a space of 3500 m² in which almost forty structures were identified; about fifty more structures are situated outside and above the wall. The site appears to have functioned as a control and observation point; since finds include both La Tène material and objects associated with the Roman military, it is assumed that it was occupied by Gaulish auxiliaries in the Roman army in the course of the Roman conquest of the valley, though it cannot be excluded that it was originally an indigenous site. Excavations were conducted between 2006 and 2010, and again between 2014 and 2016; see Andenmatten & Paccolat 2012 on the first excavation campaign, and Aberson et al. 2021 with literature for results of the excavations after 2012 and the historical context of the site.

Corinna Salomon