France

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NEWS: Heartbroken in a French convent

Analyses of graves in the Jacobin convent in Rennes (western France) have revealed previously unknown burial practices, challenging earlier interpretations about the history of death and belief in Europe. Constructed in 1369, the convent became a principal burial site for the aristocracy of Rennes, the seat of Brittany’s parliament.  Excavations there by the Institut national […]

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French wine: 2,500-year-old vintage

Wine was introduced to France from Italy, with the first Gaulish vintages produced in c.500 BC, according to newly-published chemical analysis.  Archaeological work at Lattara, a port in southern France dated to c.525-475 BC, uncovered a number of imported Etruscan amphorae stylistically linked to Cisra in central Italy. Chemical analysis of residues found within these […]

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La Tène treasures

Archaeological work ahead of the construction of warehouses at Buchères, near Troyes, France, has uncovered the graves of around 30 Gaulish warriors and women, dating back more than 2,000 years. Excavated by the Institut National de Recherches Archeologiques Préventives (INRAP), the individuals are thought to have belonged to a small La Tène period community who […]

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CWA travels to: Montmaurin

Exploring a Gallo-Roman grand design The idyllic setting and picturesque ruins of the Gallo-Roman villa at Montmaurin certainly would have appealed to the Romantics of the late 18th and 19th centuries. Set in a rural landscape against the backdrop of grazing animals and the distant white peaks of the Pyrenees, the ruined walls rise up […]

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France: Barbegal watermills

When they were built in the 2nd century AD, the great watermills at Barbegal, in the South of France, were at the very cutting edge of technology. Their revolutionary design, says Wayne Lorenz, enabled the Roman Empire to flourish, and endured unchanged until the 20th century.

France: la Glacerie

La Glacerie in Cherbourg, Normandy, is the first WWII Prisoner of War camp for German soldiers to be excavated and studied. How does living memory measure up to archaeological research? Robert Early compares the hard evidence with the witness accounts.

France: The Villers-Carbonnel lady

The Somme region of Picardie is already famous in archaeological circles for the first hand axe to be found in a securely stratified context with the bones of extinct mammals. This find prompted the realisation in European antiquarian circles that humans were far older than timeframes based on Biblical events. Now the same region has […]

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France: Paris Crypte Archaeologique

It is a traveller’s story repeated throughout the decades. The first-time visitor to Paris arrives in the city armed with a checklist of ‘must-see’ wonders – sites viewed in photographs so often that they are imprinted in the mind’s eye. And, unlike so many other places, in Paris every monument equals or surpasses expectation: the […]

Rouffignac rock art

A sequence of clear, parallel lines stands out brightly against the red clay wall at the entrance to Chamber A1 in Rouffignac Cave – about a metre off the floor, and drawn without the aid of torchlight. There has been much speculation as to the symbolic meaning and purpose of these fluted lines. Now, Leslie Van Gelder and Jessica Cooney believe they were made by a five-year-old girl, whose marks appear throughout the complex.

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Travels to Arles

According to Oscar Wilde, ‘the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it’. With the arrival this summer of a new direct train from London’s St Pancras to Avignon in France, the temptation to spend a few days in Provence was one not worth fighting. But Avignon, temporary home of […]

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Languedoc

Francophile David Miles pulls on his hiking boots, and sets off in search of Neolithic farmers in the South of France.

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Coming full circle at Arcy-sur-Cure

CWA introduces our new columnist and old friend Charles Higham, who, in this issue, recalls his earliest forays into archaeology, and how the present has a habit of linking up with the past.

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