Discover the site
For almost two millennia, a monumental enclosure of dry stone walls has stood at an altitude of 2650 m above one of the most important crossings of the Alps: the path over the Great Saint Bernard.
Contrary to what the place name and the legend might suggest, the Carthaginian commander Hannibal and his troops did not pass by here. The finds recovered during the archaeological investigations carried out between 2009 and 2016 - local pottery, equipment of Roman soldiers and a very special inscription - speak for a seasonal presence of auxiliary troops of the Roman army, Celts hired by Rome to represent its interests. The huts and shelters uncovered suggest that the site was occupied by about a hundred soldiers in the last two-thirds of the 1st century BC.
Ancient written sources report at least three Roman military operations that took place in what is now the Aosta Valley between 35 and 25 BC to subdue the Celtic tribe of Salassi and gain control of the Great and Little Saint Bernard passes.
These operations could explain the construction of various high positions such as that of the Mur d'Hannibal presented here, which were in visual contact and formed a network for territorial control.
The indigenous artefacts discovered show similarities with those of the Celtic tribes of central Valais and Chablais, which had probably been under Roman control since the battle of Octodurum in 57 BC. It would even be conceivable that the Valaisans provided the Romans with contingents of auxiliary troops for these campaigns.
Visit the exhibition "Là-haut Da oben. Fortified settlements in the Valais, yesterday and today" at the World Nature Forum Naters. There you can admire a model of the site as well as finds from the archaeological excavations. The exhibition runs from 2 July to 9 September 2021.
The site is only accessible during the summer months until the first snowfall.
The World Nature Forum in Naters is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10.00 to 17.00.
Admission for adults Fr. 18.-; students and AHV (with legi) Fr. 15.-, children from 6 years Fr. 9.-, families Fr. 42.-, free with Raiffeisen card or museum pass.
Access & Contact
To get there, it takes three hours to climb from the village of Liddes. You will cross the alpine heights to the impressive ruins that line the path leading to the Col de Lane.