Ambrussum is a Roman archaeological site in Villetelle. Ambrussum is notable for its museum, staging post on the Via Domitia, bridge Pont Ambroix over the Vidourle and the oppidum (fortified village). Its history of settlement spanned 400 years.
The whole site is still being excavated. A lower settlement prone to flooding was a staging post for travellers on the Via Domitia and provided stabling and accommodation and the full range of repair facilities that were needed by carts and the Imperial postal service. The higher settlement was based on a pre-Roman oppidum which was within a surrounding wall including 21 towers. The Romans re-modelled the oppidum, so there is evidence of a complete range of housing styles from the earliest one room dwellings to sophisticated courtyard houses on the second century AD.
The Roman road, the Via Domitia, ran at the foot of the settlement, leading from it is a paved road with visible with traces of Roman chariot tracks. The Roman bridge was used until the Middle Ages but fell into disrepair, and only one complete arch remains.
The site was first settled in 2,300 BC and the construction started on the oppidum around 300 BC. It was a settlement of Gauls. The Romans conquered the area in 120 BC. The paved road at the heart of the oppidum was laid around 100 BC. The staging post on the Via Domitia and the Pont Ambroix were constructed at around 30 BC. The flow patterns of the river changed around 10 BC, it became more aggressive and flooding became more frequent. The large houses on the south of the oppidum were built in AD 50. The whole oppidum abandoned in AD 100, but parts of the lower settlement were still in use in AD 400, and the Pont Ambroix continued in use through the Middle Ages.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.