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  Mons-seleucus 1.0,
publication Mars 2011.

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 History of Mons Seleucus site


An exceptionnal site
Mons Seleucus great battle
1800-1805  excavations 
1836 -1837 excavations
19th century chance discoveries
1972 excavations
Mission for the enhancement of archaeological heritage
Knowledge dissemination
The Narbonese
Geophysical prospections
2005 excavations


  Mons Seleucus, an exceptional underground site
carte vicus
The Gallo-roman site of Lachau plain has been known since the le 18th century. The first recorded discoveries were made during farmwork or landsliding: building structures in Lachau plain, statuettes, coins, lamps, mosaics and ceramics, which, most of the time, were sent to Grenoble to be kept in Dauphiné museum. The only artifact found at that time and highly identifiable is a forefinger belonging to a monumental statue. The other items (bronzes, ceramics , mosaïcs, etc) have been lost.
Pierre Antoine Farnaud, General Secretary of Hautes Alpes Prefecture from 1800 to 1834, testifies:
 'Mr Bertrand (...) who since then, became Crown Attorney at Gap court was the very person who made these discoveries. In the late 18th century, as he was standing in his farmer's bedroom, he saw  a small bronze shewolf on the mantelpiece. Its posture and look, together with the disc representing a head which was attached to its left fractured forepaw, made him realise that it had certainly been part of a group.
He brought (...) a bronze statuette representing Mercury, with his head up and covered with a winged hat (...).The god wore a coat, holding a bowl in his left hand and quite certainly, a caducea in his right one. He had a laced up boot.
The intendants of the province had already received several interesting objects – which were to be deposited in Grenoble antiques museum– coming from La Bâtie-Montsaléon plain, such as two Jupiter statues, a Mercury, a Diana, several Priapus ones, a Gallic soldier, and a colossal index from a bronze statue which must be three meter high.
These discoveries included some medals too.'

  Mons Seleucus great battle

Charles Romieu
' The writings of Emperor Julian, of Socrates the Scholastic (380-440) and of Sozomenus,   mention a battle fought in Mons Seleucus on 11th August 353, between Emperor Constantius and usurper Magnentius.'

Abbey Allemand
'...Magnentius, according to the historians, was the first to arrive in Mons Seleucus, from Sisteron way. He besieged the place and the surrounding passes. Magnentius was a worthy military man who had taken risks many a time... "

Father Charton 1853
'Magnentius was fought in Pannonia by Constantius's generals, and again and for good, in Mons Seleucus on 11th August 353. Le 'Champ Batailler', where the battle was fought, and  'le Champ des Grâces', in memory of the place where the vanquished were granted forgiveness, are still mentioned today.

Prefect Ladoucette
'... In 353 A.D, on 10th or 11th August, the usurper Magnentius was defeated by Constantius's lieutenants, in the south-west of Mons Seleucus, on the shores of Malaise torrent...'

'Today, interpreting the names of the places testifies to this deadly battle. However, some think that this historic battle took place around La Beaumette.
... the battle of Mons Seleucus was certainly fought in several places between Buëch and Maraize, in Champcrose, in Beaumette, and in Champ Batailler.…'

Héricart de Thurie
'... A field, probably the one in which the battle took place, bears the name of 'Champ Batailler'. Nearby, another field is called 'Les Campi Puri' ('Champs Puri'), where forgiveness was granted to Magnentius's troops who pledged loyalty to the emperor.
Below, lies 'le Champ des Grâces' where an altar was raised to pray and thank the immortals, for the victory they had granted to Constantius. Not far from there, lies 'le Champ de l'Impereiris', which was named after the place where the emperor's general army had set up camp, 'Campus Imperatoris'....

Father Allemand
'... After his army had been torn to pieces, Magnentius escaped once again. Taking the road through Die, he reached Lyon, where he cut his mother's and brother's throats, before committing suicide.

Father Gaillaud, a former priest in Serres, mentioning Emperor Julian and Sozomenius the Greek, tells:
'... See those phalanxes composed of Gauls, Franks and Saxons travelling across Provence, up the Buëch, and camping in Mons Seleucus:  this army is Magnentius's. But fearless legions are coming from the top of the Cottian Alps, across Mongenèvre. A rattle of weapons, chariots and horses can be heard from as far as Briançon. Antique Embrun is stirred by war chants. The roads are filled with foot soldiers and horsemen carrying stacks of spears and javelins. Archmen, slingmen and hoplites lead the way... beacons and supplies follow  the rear guard... it is a decisive day for Gaul... a horrible slaughter. Magnentius is defeated, runs away to Lyon and commits suicide...'

  1800-1805 Excavations

Felix Bonnaire, First Prefect in the Hautes Alpes, asked Joachim Janson, a civil engineer, to undertake an excavation. On  11th October 1800, Joachim Janson brought to light a rectangular room, whose plan he achieved. He thus commented his discovery:
'The digging place is around the middle of the plain, below the village, in its southern part. The angle of the wall was 20 cm deep. A mosaic cobblestone was found at 5 cm below  the wall. This rectangular room is linked to other unsearched walls.
m-u and l-d  walls = 10.8 m
m-s and u-a walls = 6.5 m
They are made of hewn rubble stone regularly set '. But this statement does not correspond to the village, we do not know where this digging was done.

In 1802, a new, young prefect was appointed, Baron Jean-Charles François Ladoucette. Keen on antiques, he soon took an interest in Mons Seleucus. The inhabitants made his task easier: when they called him after a bad harvest, he offered them a shovel-and-pick excavation job for 1.50 Franc a day as a salary.
Ladoucette got a 500 Francs credit from the government, to which he added 6000 Francs of his own. The excavations lasted two months, from December 1804 to February 1805, with 83 workers.
Mr Duvivier, a direct taxation inspector, was entrusted with the direction of the site, under the supervision of Vicomte Louis Héricart de Thury, a mining engineer..
The excavations brought to light structures and important materials, lapidary inscriptions, bronze and marble sculptures, coins, metal or glass artifacts, and ceramics. Most of these were found in a 94 m x 122 m residential area. A mithraeum, an altar dedicated to the worship of Mithras, was discovered in one of the rooms of that villa.
The other tall edifice located was interpreted as a factory but was probably a spa.
In April 1805, JFC Ladoucette wrote to Empress Josephine, asking her to invite the government to subsidize new excavations, and to intervene with the Emperor in order to forbide the landowners to keep antiques. But at that time, the Empress had other concerns...
Most of the artifacts were sold by the diggers to collectors or antique dealers.
Prefect Ladoucette who was an art lover, made his own collection and tried to create an archeological museum in Gap (which was to be, only a hundred years later). Artifacts and particularly inscriptions were stored in the Prefecture gardens in order to constitute the museum collection-to be. Unfortunately, they disappeared through the years just like the mithraeum which vanished between 1820 and 1830.
The other objects considered as the most amazing were sent to the Imperial Library by Aubin Louis Millin, First Curator of the Bronze and Antique Room at the National Library.
Today these objects cannot be identifiable as their origin was not indicated when they first arrived in Paris. A non exhaustive list was made by A.-L. Millin (re-used by Ch. Romieu in his 1892 publication, 'La Bâtie-Montsaléon lucky finds from the beginning of the century') : '(...) signed sepulchral lamps, a beautiful bronze candelabrum, bronze vases, a bronze strigil and an iron one, a censer, a turibulum, a bronze priapus and skeleton, a knife handle, agricultural implements, utensils, sacrifice instruments and casting tools, made out either of iron or bronze, clay vases and bowls with inscriptions and ex-votos written by the Romans while eating'.
Some of these artifacts were drawn by Joachim Janson. Watercolours are held in the Hautes Alpes Departmental Archives and in France Institute Library.

  1836-1837 Excavations

Dr Mas, a local scholar, was granted a 1500 Francs credit by Prefect Mourgue to lead two archaeological operations in Novembre 1836 and 1837.
Again, in 1836, numerous structures and objects were discovered.
Dr Mas describes what was found out:
'We can see many zigzag buildings, some of which are paved with blue schist; several small 2m∑ buildings, underground and isolated, with a sole upper opening.
Those buildings were situated along the way from the church to the head of Lachau. Pottery kilns and many vases were found there. The archaeological material was plentiful: inscriptions, bronze artifacts (bird wings, fibulas, a statuette), coins, several intaglios amphoras, etc.'
What we know  of this furniture comes from the letters exchanged between Prefect Scipio Mourgues, Baron Ladoucette, the Minister of the Interior and the persons in charge of the excavations.
27th December 1836, Prefect Mourgues to Baron Ladoucette:
'(...) with only 5000-6000 Francs we have obtained more than 200 coins and a great number of  other objects that I am sending in a crate to the Minister of the Interior (...).'
In December 1836, Prefect Mourgue sent in a crate, a myriad of artifacts to the Minister of the Interior, Comte A.-E.-P. de Gasparin. He established a written list in one of his mails to the minister: '198 bronze coins and 5 silver ones, bronze statuettes or parts of bronze statuettes, metal tools, ceramics (lamps, postsherds) parts of amphoras, fragments of  bones and teeth, a marble fragment and a large number of iron items, nails, etc.'
No traces of these objects were found after their leaving La Bâtie-Montsaléon.
In the same letter, the Prefect described a wine press, quite a vast room with 6 large conical amphoras that could have contained several hectoliters.
The 1837 excavations brought to light a good many things too: coins, tools, ceramics and inscriptions.
On 6th December 1837, J. Bachelard and  Mas, commissioners, and Tourniaire, the Mayor, to the Hautes Alpes Prefect:
'These excavations started on 20th November. The first ditch opened in Laurent Lhabit's field (1m x 40m) was unsuccessful: the earth was but steppe black soil. In the middle, a 1meter round hole was filled with black soil, burnt and mixed with bones; 2 meters deep, some pure gravel appeared. The other ditches opened in Bachelard's fields showed grossly built walls, one meter deep. A second ditch highlighted pediments composed of lime, sand and crushed bricks . Many artifacts were found on the following days. On the 21st of  November, 31 bronze coins. On the 22nd, an overturned cippus, 17 inches high and 12 inches wide, with 'Diis Manibus' as sole inscription. On the 23rd, a pick, an axe and a bow-shaped hammer made of oxidised iron. On the 24th, clay lamps, a fibula and iron nails. On the 25th, numbers of broken bricks and a silver coin from Marseilles only. On the 28th, a votive altar, one meter high, with a beautiful inscription 'VICT. AVG. DD. VICTOR VITALIS F.L.M'. On the 29th, walls were found near the temple, 3 metres off, which seemed to form streets or circumvallation walls. On the 30th, coins only.
On the 1st of December, a bronze wing which may have come from a legion eagle was found (…). On the 2nd, some coins and the arm of a bronze statue with a turtle in its hand.
There is a wall over 200m long made of very hard cement. This wall is used as a basis to other walls more recently built. The number of medals reaches 300.
We have to follow  the ditches we have already dug.
We have acknowledged that the field in the Catalane district, belonging to Mr Tour, the vicary, is the one in which we have found the largest number of artifacts. It is an inner part of the building where we found 14 amphoras last year.
Most of these objects will be shared out between private collections (Dr Mas’s being part of them), and scattered afterwards.

  19 th century chance discoveries

Chance discoveries multiplied through the years,
- 1850 to 1855: In his Campanes field, Mr A. Fortune found medals, arrows, ceramics, an urn, 4 small statues, a stone lion  the size of a dog, and stone women’s heads.
- 1859: Mr. In Buzès, Pierre Vial found several objects that he sold to Mr Court, the clockmaker in Serres: a pyramidal bronze vase, a plaque, a bust, a bronze swan neck lamp, a spherical glass lamp, a gold chain, a clay lamp and fragments of another one, a silver-handled knife, a large pin. This collection has disappeared.
- 1854 to 1857: during the building of the canal, tombs were brought to light near the church, next to a wall and an oratory which were buried approximately 2 meters deep. Two others were found near the canal in Champuri, while urns and funeral artifacts were discovered in the locality of Le Clot des Paillards.

  1972 Excavations

Before the building of a garage in Mr Jourdanne’s secondary residence (in Les Granges district), a preventive excavation, required by PACA Antiques Direction, is achieved by Michel Colardelle.  He records a habitation dating back to the middle of the 1st century BC, but cannot go further in such a short lapse of time.

  Mission for the enhancement of archaeological heritage (1999-2001)

It was within the framework of  the Leader II  European programme for rural development that this mission was implemented by La Bâtie Montsaléon in 1999, for two years  and with Christophe Barbier as a representative. It dealt with compiling the documents and the numerous objects deposited in museums following the 1805, 1836 and 1837 excavations, in order to better know  the scientific interest of the archaeological site and its potential in terms of cultural and touristic valorization.  The mission had three objectives.
Scientific knowledge of protohistorical and antique archaeology – two misknown periods in the Buëch and  Durance regions, except for the latest 19th c. scholarly works. Between 1958 and 1976, some rescue operations were carried out concerning protohistoric habitations in Chabestan and Sainte-Colombe, or prehistory in Aspres-sur-Buëch and Montmorin, for instance. Other excavations achieved as the A51 was being built between Sisteron, La Saulce, and  Saint-Ariès antique site, complete the knowledge gained at the beginning of the mission, but are statistically insufficient to go beyond simple hypotheses.
Thus, the mission aimed at better knowing La Bâtie-Montsaléon site, together with the other protohistorical and antique sites of the valley. The following issues were studied:
the state of historical knowledge in 1999
first chance discoveries
1800-1805 excavations
1836-1837 excavations
19th c. chance discoveries
1972 excavations
preservation places
recapitulation of the collections according to  deposit places
A pedagogic project was created through the Academic Inspection and teachers, in order to heighten public awareness of archeology. This project aimed at promoting tourism, allowing the archaeological heritage to be part of tne valley economic development.

La Bâtie-Montsaléon - Inventory
The communal territory spreads over 1508 hectares.
The village counted 115 inhabitants in the 15th c., 375 in the 18th c., 296 in the 19th c., and 146 during the 1999 census. La Bâtie-Montsaléon is composed of an ageing population, a minority agriculture, still politically important though, and of an increasing number of retired and neorural people.
Economically, jobs opportunities are limited. Agriculture is declining, farming land value is decreasing. Moreover, tourism lacks strong attractive elements and  the spur of promoting compared with the northern part of the department. A dragging firm has been running for several years The aerodrome constitutes an expanding attractive area and the new  technologies allow  the setting up of liberal service companies.

  Knowledge dissemination

  • Summer 2000 archaeological exhibition

This exhibition, first of its kind in the southern part of the department, was held in La Bâtie-Montsaléon, from 1st July to 15th September 2000.  It was prepared with the collaboration of the Regional Service of PACA Archaeology and University of Provence. The departmental museum lent 37 objects, a large part of which came from stocks. The exhibition was a complete success, with 1500 visitors over two months and a half. It was divided in five large parts.
1st part: Introducing La Bâtie Montsaléon at the dawning of a new century.
2nd part:
the great 19th c. excavation campaigns  featuring the 1805, 1836 and 1837excavations.
18th c. chance discoveries
the first organised excavation, illustrated by the 1800 archaeological digging.
Excavations and chance discoveries in the 20th c., with particularly, the 1972 excavations and the 1996 chance discoveries
3rd part: everyday life through some objects
4th part: archaeology and restoration
-5th part: the future of the archaeological site

  • Interpretation tables

Set in the village square in September 2000, two view point indicators introduce to the walker, the antique agglomeration and the religious cults which were practised.

View point indicator 1: Mons-Seleucus, an agglomeration in the Southern Alps.
4 graphic elements:
- The Tabula Peutingeriana
- The archaeological map of the village achieved in 2000, featuring the sites known by the air prospection, oral and written information.
- The aerial photograph taken in 19901, showing a portico surrounded by a central building.
- The listed statement of a residential area, achieved by Janson in 1805, during Ladoucette excavations.

View point indicator 1: Cults in Bâtie-Montsaléon
- explaining the oriental cults dedicated to Mithras and Isis for which testimonies were found in the 19thc. and on the site.
- describing the imperial cult through an altar dedicated to Victoria Augusta, which is preserved in the Hautes-Alpes departmental museum.
These view point indicators were set to complete  Summer 2000  temporary exhibition. Thanks to their permanent presence, the walker can be informed about the past cultural riches of the village.

  • July 2000 Gallo-roman festivities

The Gallo-roman festivities week took place in La Bâtie Montsaléon, from 1st to 8th July 2000.  It was organised by 'Pile ou Versa' theatre company, in collaboration with the village and Leader II mission.
This festivities week around the presence of the antique site gathered 1500 people. There were theatre, music and tale-telling shows running every evening. The week ended on Saturday 8th July with the burlesque reconstitution of the 11th  August 353 battle between Magnentius and Constantius's generals. This event had an important local impact. It gave the village a new dynamic image, and made it famous far beyond the Buëch valley.

  • Gallo-roman meals
Within the frame of the Summer 2000 festivities, these meals were organised by Mr and Mrs Giroud, the owners of 'La Jument Noire' inn ('he Black Mare' inn) in La Bâtie-Monsaléon.
Here is the typical menu, elaborated after Apicius's recipes noted from Mrs Blanc and Mrs Nercessian's book on Roman cooking (1995):
Herbae rusticae - Wild herbs
Moretum - Goat cheese starter
Pullum Frontonianum - Chicken a la Fronto
Minutal Matianum - Minutal Matianum
Patina de Piris - Pear souflé

  • The educational project
The educational project called 'Archeology and landscape' was designed for primary schools in collaboration with Mr and Mrs Vargoz, the owners of 'Les Chariots du Buëch' group gîte ('the Buëch carts), set in La Bâtie Montsaléon and where the discovery classes were accomodated. This project dealt with lanscape formation, La Bâtie Montsaléon site and antique ceramics making.with different contributors:
- a geograph-interpret, working on the geographical and archeological presentation of the landscape through diaporamas, a sandbox excavation workshop and recreational visits on the field.
- a local guide introducing the inhabitants' everyday life since the neolithic age, focusing on antiquity.
- a ceramist, working with the children on a project dealing with sigil making.

Conclusion to Leader II mission:
As the project leader's works were presented to the steering commity presided by the mayor of the time, a global cultural and touristic project appeared essential after 2001. It could embody:
- a Gallo-romansite museum for the southern part of the department, set in La Bâtie Montsaléon which is the most important site of that time.
- The museum would have included an educational and research area, a bar and an archaeological library.
- diggings and maybe even excavations were envisaged.
- different thematic activities (see above).

After the importance of Mons Seleucua Gallo-roman site was aknowledged,  and according to the conclusions made by the different steering commitees, the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur inscribed Lachaud plain on the list of the local great antique sites (Mons Seleucus being the sole recorded in the Hautes Alpes). Thus, the municipality could get financing from the state-region plan contract.
But in 2001, the new municipality puts an end to the mission, and suspends all kind of aids that the department, the region and the state were willing to grant La Bâtie Monsaléon for its archaeological site (site museum, archaeological library, a place to accomodate the researchers; excavations..).

  The Narbonese

In 2002, an article was published in the Narbonese Gaul magazine...' La Bâtie Monsaléon, Mons Seleucus, vicus and Gallo-roman sanctuary in the High Buëch (Hautes Alpes)', after Philippe Leveau, Maxence Segard, Christophe Barbier, Guy Bertucchi, and Bernard Simon.
Examining the archaeological and epigraphic data related to Mons Seleucus, the site of La Bâtie Monsaléon in the Buëch valley, ends up with a new interpretation of it. Mons Seleucus is a vicus associated with a contemporary native sanctuary. Particularly known in Aquitaine, this type of agglomeration seems quite usual in Narbonese Gaul.

Resuming the archaeological works in the late 19th century.

Christophe Barbier worked on the site of Mons Seleucus from 1999 to June 2001, during a mission for the enhancement of archaeological heritage. This mission was implemented by La Bâtie Monsaléon and largely financed by a European programme. He gathered the scattered ancient data, enriched it with the recent chance discoveries, and drew a general plan which restored a part of the Roman agglomeration. Then, Bernard Simon and Maxence Segard included this data to the land registry and an archaeological assessment was proposed to compare both ancient and recent data. The results of this study were published in the archaeological journal 'La Narbonaise' ('The Narbonese'), from which the present  summary was taken.

The remains and their reinterpretation

The uncovered remains are on the farming plain of Lachau, on either sides of the Brieu path. They were identified and classed in 4 parts:

There, Héricart de Thury described a vast square with a tall edifice, and a district enclosed in a precinct as large as the domus of part 2. Numerous objects were found, like a small bronze eagle, lamps, and a small altar. The building was made of sandstone and bricks, contrarily to the other edifices which were built with chalky rubble stone. Several  tanks together with metalworkers' tools were described in the same district. The whole suggests home made  installations linked to ceramic production and metal work. From the description of a brick platform, topped by a large semicircular basin, itself surrounded by pipeline networks, it is certain that thermae existed in this area. The thermal installation is featured on Janson's map, together with the presence of coal and metal. Several living places were found around the workshops and the thermae. Not much is known about them except that they were carefully built and richly decorated (coating, marble, porphyry). It is in one of them that the mithraeum and its marble bas relief representing Mithras were found (see page 4). A water conveyance system with clay and lead pipes linked the habitations together. The aerial photographs suggest groups of houses around streets and open spaces (yards, squares, gardens).

It is the best known part since the first excavations. We can see a group of northeast-southwest oriented quadrangular structures on a 50mx40m space. We can recognize the plan of a domus around a yard with proticoes and an atrium framed with rooms of different sizes. In the southwest, there is a yard or a garden of 18mX24m at least. In the northeast and in the southwest, a yard lined with two long halls and a 6mx24m room ensures the transition with a group of smaller rooms organised around a square atrium 12.5mx12.5m .
On the aerial photographs, several rooms appear at about 40m west from the domus , at the on the end of Janson's theoric plan. Isabelle Béraud think they are outhouses, but their sumptuous decoration, would rather define them as livng rooms. The largest spaces ' may have been yards or gardens. We can hypothesize that the front rooms were shops while the workshops or storing rooms were at the back.

In the norheast of the present townhall, a square building divided in compartments was described by the 1836 diggers. There, dolia (clay jars) 1.60m high were buried under a slab, and linked to gutters dug in the ground. A wine warehouse and maybe a wine press seem to be in the central room.
The aerial photographs and preventive excavations achieved in 2000 confirm the presence of antique structures but do not allow  to know more about them. In the same part, the necropolis limits the residential area on that side of the vicus. One can hypothesize another domus with an atrium. We can suppose too, an urban area divided in districts with a water supplying system and a thermal building. The 19th century archaeologists evoke a square north east of this domus, with fragments of monumental statues.

The identification of a sanctuary is the main point of the 2001 summary. North west of part 2, other non urban remains were noticed by Ladoucette who told of a temple without any other precisions. The aerial and geophysical prospections located a 50mx44m quadrangular group, oriented exactly like the domus. It is composed of two overlapping structures.The largest is constituted of two rectangles around a vast central space and with a front projection which may have been a porch. The second structure stretches in the axis of 'the porch'. Other walls and a vast pit were identified too in this part.
The amazing number of inscriptions had already suggested that Mons Seleucus was an important religious center. The whole agglomeration linked with a cultural precinct making of Mons Seleucus a vicus seems to be confirmed today.
'the deities related to La Bâtie are Isis, Mithras, and certainly Jupiter and Victoria Augusta linked to the imperial cult'.

Mons Seleucus was thus 'a plain agglomeration defined by no rampart but where an aristocratic presence was obvious. The domus in the center of the habitat is amazing  considering its dimension (more than 3500m∑) and the quality of its building.'
Nothing older than  the late Tène era –which corresponds, in fact, to the early Roman period‑– has really ever been found. The conclusions of the summary focus on the Gallo-roman character of Mons Seleucus and suggest to search for comparisons with the same type of site more particularly known in Aquitaine. This possible study could give another orientation to the specificities ascribed to the Gallic space.

  Geophysical prospections

2001 : la prospection engagée par le Service Régional de l’Archéologie en convention avec le Conseil Général, et à la demande de la municipalité a permis d’obtenir un plan assez précis d’un bâtiment d’environ 55m x 45m, visible quelle que soit la profondeur d’investigation, 1m ou 2m. "Son plan se présente comme un emboîtement de quadrilatères dont certains se recoupent." Il a été mis en évidence la combinaison d'un centre linéaire conducteur et de deux côtés résistants. Quel qu'ait été leur rôle originel, et même s'il s'agit de plusieurs étapes de construction, l'ensemble s'inscrit dans une continuité architecturale.
Il a été également cartographié une forme angulaire, sans doute une partie d'habitation, proche d'une forme en ellipse, qui pourrait être un bassin avec un fossé le reliant à l'habitation.
Au centre du relevé, les prospections présentent "une longue ligne résistante qui semble correspondre à un ancien chemin. Malheureusement, il est difficile de le relier aux bâtiments connus." Mais des anomalies linéaires pourraient en être les ramifications et impliquent l'existence d'autres structures entre les bâtiments répertoriés et des axes de communication les reliant.
La conclusion de cette première prospection contemporaine incitait à l'étendre à des parcelles environnantes afin d'obtenir une cartographie d'ensemble de la richesse du site.

2003 : la seconde prospection a donc concerné les parcelles situées globalement au nord de la parcelle prospectée en 2001. Elle a mis en évidence un réseau de drainage non répertorié sur les cadastres, et diverses anomalies, déjà observées à l'ouest, qui pourraient être causées par des citernes emplies de matériaux retenant l'humidité. Diverses autres structures ont été détectées et cartographiées.

Les deux rapports de la société Terra Nova concluent donc en l’intérêt d’une campagne de sondages archéologiques qui pourraient seuls confirmer ou affiner les hypothèses de travail émises par les prospections géophysiques, et aider à la compréhension des différentes occupations du sol du village.

  2005 excavations

Achieved by Lucas Martin (in charge of the operation) and Stéphane Fournier (technician) from INRAP, Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques et Préventives (National Institute for Archaeological and Preventive Research).

Short summary of their excavaition report

As a planning permission was granted to build a house on the ZH 18 parcel of Lachaud plain, excavations were undertaken to see whether there were antique remains and to confirm the presence of the city. This parcel, situated in the upper part of Lachaud plain, was not the richest (cf. aerial and geophysical prospections). It opens in the west on a clear space. The digging area is situated inside the city, in a place about which there is little information. Eight diggings were made (5 parallel trenches whose extremities were sometimes extended in order to partly find a building plan).

Uncovering buildings and dumps

House A: the walls form a 7.5m x 6m rectangular space. the walls go on in several directions (this room may belong to a larger house). They are bound with mortar. They appear as foundations or on the lower elevation stratum, with a 0.50m-0,55m width.
House B: it was composed of three spaces minimum which were defined by diggings 4 and 6. The plan was not clear enough to deduce relevant elements from it.
Dumps: though they were partly searched, the following materials were found:
Complete sigil shapes with two potters' signatures, nails, bronzes, glasses,  parts from an hypocaust, fragments of amphoras, ceramics, fauns, stone, bronze coins from the 5th century (the lower empire) confirm the dating .
The typology of the material was not entirely defined as some ceramics though plain, remain unknown through lack of  frequent excavations in the Alpine zone. However, their shape recalls the classical Gallo-roman style and south gallic sigils.
The extension of the antique buildings and the level of occupation between the 1st  century and the 5th century are confirmed in this zone on the whole parcel.

2006 Excavations

2008 Excavations

2010 Excavations  (see News page)




05700 La Batie-Montsaléon

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