Archaeological excavation reveals possible Gallic settlement in Saint-Flour, France

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Excavations by a team from the Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives (Inrap) in Saint-Flour – a commune in south-central France – has uncovered a possible Gallic settlement. The archaeological mission was carried out between April and June 2018, prior to the construction of the Saint-Flour bypass by the Cantal County Council.

As part of the project, the group surveyed a region called “La Cheyre”, with the objective of discovering the remains of a hitherto-unknown Gallic settlement dating from the Iron Age. Incidentally, it is the first large-scale excavation of Gallic remains to be conducted in the Cantal department of France’s  Auvergne region.

Located north of the Roueyre hamlet, along the northern border of the Saint-Flour commune, the excavation site is spread across an area of 2 hectares and extends nearly 400 meters on either side of the GR4 hiking trail. It lies on a mound, reaching an altitude of approximately 836 meters.

During the examination, the archaeologists unearthed the remains of a number of structures that directly point to an ancient settlement. Other findings suggest the possibility of it being a small settlement. For instance, excavations in the site’s southern part revealed a 60 meter-long hollow track, with the track tread made of amphora shard fills.

Read more: 15 things you should know about the Gallic Wars – Part I and Part II

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Close to that, the team also found the remains of structures most likely used for water management. Among them were at least three wells, nested amphora pipes and multiple cisterns. Thanks to the presence of clay subsoil and the uninterrupted flow of water, two of the three wells had the lower portion of their wooden casing – around 1 meter in height – still intact.

Through further analysis of the wooden casings, the researchers hope to learn more about their construction technique. Additionally, as part of the mission, the team managed to collect sediment samples containing organic matter, possibly the fossilized remains of pollens or seeds. This would, in turn, help shed more light on the ecological landscape of the Gallic era-settlement.

In another part of the excavation site, the archaeologists discovered the remains of kilns of different sizes. With some of them dating back to the early Roman period, the finding points to the probability that a pottery workshop once existed in the area. Apart from that, waste related to iron metallurgy has also been uncovered. Speaking about the significance of the findings, a spokesperson from Inrap said –

All these clues will allow us to understand the urban status of this Gallic occupation and its relations with the Roman town at the foot of the Saint-Flour plateau.

Source/Image Credits: Archaeology News Network

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