From 1963 to the present, a veritable epic tale’s worth of discoveries that continue today…
THE DISCOVERY OF THE SITE IN 1963
The ancient city of Lattara was discovered in 1963 following a deep-ploughing. The first surveys, led by Henri Prades and the Painlevé Archaeological Group (GAP), showed strong potential for future study of the southern Gallic civilization and its prospects at the start of the Roman Era.
Their work raised public awareness and increased political interest in the historical and cultural significance of the site. Accordingly, the Minister of Culture, the Regional Council of Languedoc-Roussillon, the General Council of the Hérault, the City of Lattes, and the governing body of French museums mobilized themselves to assure the protection of these relics.
MOVING INTO THE FORMER FARMHOUSE OF SAINT-SAUVEUR
An archaeological center, including a municipal museum, research laboratories, a library for documentation, and an excavation headquarters, were installed in the old Saint-Sauveur house, on the edge of the site.
During the 19th century this farm belonged to the family of the painter Fédéric Bazille. The farm is depicted in one of his most important landscapes, done in 1863.
The architect of the museum, Jean Massota, wanted to keep a memento of the era and thus the museums garden fountain is dedicated to the Montpellierain painter.
DESIGNATED "MUSÉES DE FRANCE" IN 1986
Inaugurated in 1986, the museum was designated a "Musées de France". Originally managed by the City of Lattes who owned it, the museum was transferred to the Agglomeration of Montpellier in January 2006.
Since 2001, the museum has kept its archaeological reserves in a former cellar near the site, "la cave Bonnier", which allows for the deposit and stockpiling of excavated items in optimal conditions.