The exhibition “It happened near you” is held at the Chronograph until January 7, 2024. It looks back on thirteen recent excavation operations carried out in Rezé and in six other municipalities of the agglomeration. With the update of remarkable results.
Archaeological excavations have been part of the Rezéen landscape for many years. At the metropolitan scale, their generalization is more recent. But real: 150 operations have been carried out there since 2010! It is this acceleration that the Chronograph and the Archaeological Center of Nantes Métropole, supported by the DRAC Pays de la Loire and Inrap*, wanted to promote through the exhibition “It happened near you”, which looks back on ten years of archeology in the metropolis. Its designers have selected the thirteen most significant excavation sites. These operations, programmed or preventive within the framework of urban developments, in rural areas or in the hyper center of Nantes, reveal a great diversity of forms and times of occupation, from the Gallic farmhouse to the medieval cemetery.
* Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs and National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research
THE IRON AGE UNVEILS
Several recent operations have improved our knowledge of the territory during the Iron Age, this period which extends from 800 BC to the end of the 1st century AD. “Thanks to recent excavations, we know more about the foundation of the towns of the agglomeration and the farms, about the installation of human communities around the Loire and its tributaries”, notes Cécile de Collasson, the person in charge of the Chronograph. Well identified, the first three poles to have emerged are those of Mauves, Nantes and Rezé (or Ratiatum, the ancient name) which has been the subject of the most complete excavations.
NEW ADVANCES ON RATIATUM
The last campaign carried out in Rezé dates from 2020-2021, as part of preventive excavations upstream of the Carré Daviais urban project. It confirmed the extent of the ancient city by revealing an extension of the port facilities over a great length. “We found the same construction techniques and the same dates as on the parts already excavated around Saint-Lupien, with just a few variants of implementation”, notes Cécile de Collasson. These wooden quays have thus yielded assembly marks on the sandpit and post which are being studied by archaeologists. Some of these woods may one day be visible at the Chronograph.
THANKS TO POLLENS, WE KNOW MORE!
The analytical work of archaeologists is based on various disciplines and the exhibition shows how scientific progress influences knowledge, from the stratigraphic reading of a site to the analysis of seeds, pollens, coals… These information gives a reading of the spaces
excavated in terms of dating, biodiversity but also development. Thus the study of pollens (palynology) and seeds on an old Gallic farm on the ZAC Doulon-Gohards has made it possible to
distinguish between threshing and rearing areas and identify the species of animals raised, in this case sheep, pigs and oxen.
WHEN THE DEAD SPEAK
The last years have been marked by the excavations of several necropolises and cemeteries ranging from the Iron Age to the Middle Ages. On the ancient necropolis of the rue d’Auvours, in Nantes, more than 17,000 ceramic fragments have been unearthed. While in Saint-Herblain, on the old cemetery of the church
Saint-Hermeland, no less than 350 graves have been discovered. So many precious elements which “help to understand the social composition, the funeral rites and the state of health of the populations of the time”, notes Cécile de Collasson.
The work carried out with the DRAC and the operations managers allows the visitor to have the privilege of
discover some objects from recent excavations. Like these wooden buckets, remarkably preserved and around 2,300 years old, from the excavation of a Gallic farm in Carquefou. Two objects discovered in an Iron Age necropolis, a fibula and tweezers, have been specially restored for the exhibition.
Ratiatum is exceptional!
The very first Gallo-Roman ruins of Ratiatum were discovered in 1860. But it was in the 2000s that archaeological excavations intensified on the Rezéen site of Saint-Lupien. Built in the 1st century AD, a rather well-preserved monumental wooden wharf was discovered in 2011. Archaeologists compare it to those in London or Xanten in Germany. Ratiatum is in fact the only archaeological site on the Atlantic coast to present a port with its three entities: a navigable space, developments on the bank with this quay probably stretching over more than 1.5 km, as well as warehouses storage and shops and workshops for the sale of goods. The state of conservation and the importance of these works dating from the 1st and 2nd centuries lead archaeologists Jimmy Mouchard and David Guitton, who led the 2014 excavation campaign, to think that “Ratiatum benefited, more than 2,000 years, of a concerted urbanization plan, of funding and of a strong political will to enable its development”. Consultation was already at work among our ancestors.
#Ten #years #archaeological #excavations #discover