ARCHEOLOGY – A preventive excavation carried out in Châteaugiron revealed an unpublished section of the ancient road. It had been built in the Iis century to link Condate to Juliomagus.
Two millennia after its construction, no rough pothole has damaged the solid roadway of the Roman road. In Châteaugiron, in Ille-et-Vilaine, time has nevertheless done its work on the old road which linked the ancient city of Condate (Rennes) to Juliomagus (Angers). In recent months, this axis of circulation has been exhumed over several meters by researchers from the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap), at a place called Grand Launay, south of the agglomeration.
As the archaeologists were able to realize, the way crosses from east to west the whole of the prescribed excavation area. Built in Iis century of our era, in the Gallo-Roman era, the road had been a victim of its own success, as evidenced by the numerous repairs to its central tread, the curved surfacing of the roadway. The technical side aisles and the various outbuildings that flanked this ancient axis were also exhumed by the researchers.
The new section of this axis completes the growing data collected for several years on this ancient highway in northwestern Gaul. Several sections of the Roman road which ran from Rennes to Angers, over a hundred kilometers, are indeed already known thanks to archaeology. In Avrillié, on the northwestern outskirts of Angers, some portions of the road were thus found during two separate excavation operations, organized by Inrap in 2018 and then again this year, in the spring.
A new section of the Roman road that linked Rennes to Angers discovered in Brittany
Fairly well studied, this axis of circulation did not wait for the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar to be developed. The route of the Roman road indeed follows the route of older paths, dated “Bronze Age or Early Iron Age” (that is to say around 1000 to 700 BC), according to an Inrap press release. Nor did the use of this Roman road disappear with the end of Antiquity. The way “has persisted in the landscape for at least 1800 yearsentrusted to West France Frédéric Guérin, head of Avrillié’s latest campaign, which ended in May. It was used in the medieval period and during the modern period.
Led by archaeologist Sandra Sicard, the excavation carried out by Inrap in Châteaugiron has been studying a 40-hectare sector since September before its transformation into a housing estate. In addition to the Roman road, archaeologists have uncovered a Neolithic agricultural occupation dated to the Villeneuve-Saint-Germain culture, around 4600 BC. Of a type quite rare in Brittany, this protohistoric site was delimited by a ditch and dominated by a large house, 25 meters long. An important domestic presence dating from the Gallic period was also exhumed. The site will be open to the public for the European Archeology Days, from June 16 to 18.
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