France Archaeology

The progress made by archaeological research in France has been, in the last ten years, very consistent. Numerous new settlements were excavated for the Bronze Age, while particular interest was dedicated to the emergence of territorial potentates, the birth of villages and the formation of Iron Age aristocracies (La Tène culture). Undoubtedly the founding of the phocean colony of Massalia (Marseille) and the trade routes that reached Corsica and Provence from Etruria contributed to the creation of these complex social structures. We recall the investigations carried out in the town of Saint-Blaise (Bouches du Rhone), with the discovery of numerous houses in the oppidum archaic of 5.5 ha, and the progress made in Marseille itself, with the excavation of a port area active since the 4th century BC In Hyères- Olbia (Var), research continued in the city founded by colonists from Marseille in 330 BC, and in the necropolis of Agde (Hérault) the Iron Age tombs (around 170) have revealed a rich harvest of metal objects and vases from the 7th and 6th centuries BC

Notable discoveries have also been recorded for the Celtic culture with the excavation in the necropolis; we can point out the finds from Agris (Charente: a helmet in iron, bronze, silver and gold dating back to about 320 BC), from Mailly-Le-Camp (Aube: golden torques of the 1st century BC), from Mailleraye- sur-Seine (Seine-Maritime: storage of iron objects). New data also emerge from the settlements of the 1st century BC such as in Bibracte (Mont Beuvray; Nièvre), where a wall enclosing a city of 130 ha was brought to light, in Villeneuve SaintGermain (Aisne), with the discovery of numerous houses surrounded by two large moats and an aggere, and in Paule (Côtes-du-Nord), where a stone statuette depicting a deity with a lyre and a torques has been identified around the neck, datable to the 1st century BC

According to thesciencetutor, the excavation of the square Gallic sanctuary of Guarnay-sur-Aronde (Oise), which was alive between about 300 and 60 BC, has yielded a considerable quantity of iron objects (umboons, swords, spears, plow points dedicated to the deity of the place), while the bronze statue of the warrior god, dating back to the 1st century BC, was found in Saint-Maur-en-Chausse (Oise) in the closet of a Gallo-Roman sanctuary of Celtic origin.

Also for the Roman age, new data can be added to the already immense archaeological bibliography known. In Lyon- Lugdunum (Rhône) 4 ha inside the ancient city were analytically investigated with the identification of different successive phases: from the plant prior to the Roman conquest (1st century BC) to the time of the foundation of the colony (15 BC-15 AD), then the phase of great building expansion, characterized by a series of buildings with a stereotyped plan, which is followed by the construction of a large monumental structure consisting of a temple and a series of cryptoporticos (15-50 AD). Finally, there is the phase (up to about 300 AD) in which numerous private houses overlap around the complex, often destroyed by fires. Other discoveries are recorded in Eu (Seine-Maritime), with a theater and a fanum, and in Aix-en-Provence (Bouches du Rhone), where a new house with terraces and gardens has returned painted panels with candelabra and theatrical mask of the mid-1st century BC. Also in the field of wall painting, the discoveries of Narbonne (Aude: Clos-de-laLombard, with scene depicting a genius and a winged victory among other deities; second half of the 2nd century AD) and of Famars (North: Jardin-à-Pois), where a set of paintings comes from a hypocaust: the scenes are composed of architectural elements within which are also arranged a clipeata image and gorgoneia, datable between the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 3rd century AD From Lyon, near the ancient theater, finally come some panels with candelabra and a representation of a muse, also datable to the 2nd-3rd century AD

In Paris, excavations continued under the square of Notre-Dame, which, in addition to identifying clear traces of the Celtic era (also found in the necropolis of the Luxembourg garden), made it possible to further clarify the urban development of Roman Lutetia, a ‘ ‘double city’, consisting of the island (remains of a wall of a monumental building, perhaps a civil basilica, in front of the Police Prefecture; fortifications from the second half of the 3rd century AD, after a destructive Germanic invasion; remains of a 4th century house, etc.) and by the settlement of the ” left bank ” (forum, thermal baths, amphitheater, small theater, etc.), strongly compromised by the invasions and destruction of the 3rd century.

New discoveries are recorded in the field of rural settlements and activities related to crafts and trade: the cellars of a wealthy winemaker from Donzère (Drôme), iron objects for working in the fields, from the Gallo-Roman and late Imperial periods from Bliesbruck and Sarreinsming (Moselle), the large Gallo-Roman villa with large residential courtyard (1st-3rd century AD) in Châtillon-sur-Serche (Ille-et-Vilaine) or the late antique agricultural settlement of Castellu (Upper Corsica), may be some of the most important examples. Of great interest is the handicraft complex (especially vascular) excavated in Sallèles d’Aude (Aude), where thousands of amphorae (Gauloise 4 from the 2nd century AD) and tiles have been reconstructed; nor can we forget the contributions made in this area of ​​research by the

The same can be said of underwater archeology with the detection of wrecks containing real treasures, as in the case of the river one of SaintGermain-du-Plain (Saône-et-Loire), loaded with cups and silver skyphos of the 1 Century a. C., of Madrague-du-Giens (Var) with 600 amphorae (Dressel 1b) datable between 75 and 60 BC. C.; of Port Cros (Var) with iron and tin ingots (2nd century BC), of Bonifacio (southern Corsica) and Golfe Saint-Juan (Alpes-Maritimes) from the 1st century BC. C .; finally the wreck of Perros Guirec (Côtes-duNord; 4th century AD) loaded with 22 tons of lead ingots.

As regards the places of worship, the attestation of an ivory diptych from Grand (Vosges: 2nd century AD) with a representation of the zodiac signs is particularly interesting; the discovery, in the sanctuary of Saint-Marcel (Indre), of a series of stone statues representing characters seated in front of a table (2nd century AD) or of the group of statues decorating the Gennainville water sanctuary (Val d’Oise) from the mid-2nd century AD. C. Research on military camps, such as eg. those carried out in Jublains (Mayenne) in the 3rd century AD. C., and in Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais) from the 1st to the 3rd century AD. C. Finally, very interesting is the treasure that belonged to a soldier from Lyon, dating back to the middle of the 3rd century AD. C., which contains rings, buckles, a gladius and a large number of antoniniani argentei.

France Archaeology