Excavation in Bourges (Cher)

Nakala, AOrOc collection

Excavations of the Iron Age deposits in Bourges started in 1995 by conducting surveys of the southwestern periphery (Lazenay) and of the city center (Hôtel-Dieu).

Direct access to the project

Institutional Partners

AOROC - UMR8546-CNRS/ENS Archéa - association Bourges Plus- Communauté d’agglomération CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique ENS - Ecole Normale Supérieure | Paris Ministère de la Culture (France) Nakala PSL  - Paris Sciences et Lettres | université de recherche TGIR Huma Num (Très Grande Infrastructure de Recherche) University of Edinburgh

  • Searchers :
    • Olivier Buchsenschutz, DR CNRS, AOROC,
    • Laurence Augier, Dr en archéologie, Bourges Plus,
    • Marylin Salin, Dr en archéologie, Bourges Plus,
    • Jacques Troadec, Dr du service municipal d’archéologie de Bourges Plus,
    • Ian Ralston, Pr à Edimbourg, directeur de l’institut d’archéologie,
    • Sophie Krausz, MCU Bordeaux,
    • Christophe Batardy, Ingénieur au Ministère de la Culture, SIG.

Students : principalement des universités de Tours et Paris.


The construction of Bourges, « the fairest city in almost all of Gaul » according to Julius Caesar (1st century BC), began in the 6th century BC. The city belongs to the aristocratic complex of the 6th century BC, associating princely tombs and fortified settlements of prestige (such as Vix, Côte-d’Or, or the Heuneburg, Baden-Würtemberg).
This excavation focuses on 15 hectares in the outlying areas of the hill settlement, today buried under the modern town of Bourges.

Excavation results reveal the presence of an artisanal neighborhood, where bronze, iron and lignite jewelry were manufactured. Pearls of glass, amber and coral were imported and sometimes crafted on site. The Greek and Provençal ceramic imports were few but found throughout the site, indicating the high status of these artisans.

As of today, this is the largest settlement area dedicated to artisanal production to be explored in Celtic Europe with Hochdorf (Baden-Würtemberg). Several hundreds of thousands of objects, bones and traces of metalwork have been inventoried. Their distribution on the site was studied by using a GIS. The results were published in 2012.
The RACF supplement "Port Sec Sud" is now freely available on Perseus: