Romans were almost everywhere in France.
I ride my ebike, very often over quite a long stretch of nearby Roman road, not even signposted.
They were once, right here, on the exact spot of my balcony, almost certainly, as a camp was quite close by. There’s ancient granite? Slate? quarry, and there must have been waterworks of some kind, then, as over recent centuries, on this sharp elbow bend, in the river.
Is anyone out there good at guessing if crumbling remains are old enough to be Roman? By photos? Or guessing the age of anything (not counting selfies), by photos alone? When the river dries up, there’s a very heavy well cover, with DIY metal handles, and very Roman-looking concrete bits. Yes, Rome did have concrete. No, I can’t move it, and No, I don’t think there’s an actual well underneath, but there might be…
Serious, Roman concrete. One day there will be someone who knows and who can tell me…if my huge and very heavy slab, usually below the water surface, with its handmade metal handles, might be Roman, or not. It had to be made in layers, and different layers sometimes had different aggregate. Shells, limestone, etc.
Thank you for your suggestion, Bettina, There’s a wonderful eco, of the people, museum that I tried. However, That’s one thing I have noticed about France, that is unlike UK. Letters and images to Brit museums, (as I remember, its a long while since I was there) almost always bring a response, with information or suggested resources for information.
I have never, ever had a reply to questions similarly, in France. Except from the Impots dept, they are unfailingly kind and helpful, no matter what the question.
I haven’t yet tried the Uni. Rennes.
And sending a sample, sounds like a good idea. With return postage.
I will do it!
We are currently in Scotland - on the outer edge of Roman conquest. Having some local enthusiasts (which I encountered at our local tourist office) pointing out hill forts etc which where in fact Roman outposts rather than picts. Sometimes its the most unusual places you find interesting bits of information. Is there a local history society? Local paper that would publish your query?
Totally fascinating. I am currently reading a book on ‘french tribes’ by Graham Robb.
Im surprised that it appears to be a minority taste, in France where whole chunks of Rome can be seen without trying too hard. I have very rarely come across interested others, they must exist somewhere, but no luck locating any so far. I dont claim any knowledge or expertise, only interest, and the very obviously, man made stone-works of my own micro island and adjacent other constructions.
I did see a group, one day, listening to a lecture on my, close by, 1000+ year old stone bridge, but have never discovered the groups base inspire of searches. That was years ago. The bridge became unsafe, was dismantled and replaced by a huge timber one. Very smart, but so sad to see that bit of very ancient history, just disappear.
I’m quite ancient myself, so need to get on faster, collecting information to put together about this place, which must have been a small industrial site for thousands of years. Well, that’s how it seems to me!
Because of the force of the river, here, in winter, so much power. If you ever come to Bretagne, perhaps we can do some hill fort spotting! I know there is one very close by.
The fabulous medieval fortresses and chateaux around France are well cared for and investigated, Chateaubriant is in biking distance, some great art shows, there. I dream of unearthing details that relate more closely to history of rural and small communities, and their invaders passing through. With art, too.
My family come from right next to the Pont du Gard, the Maison Carrée etc. The Romans were reqponsible for the foundations of their original home and probably planted vines and olives…
One of my Scottish great-aunts had a section of the Antonine Wall going through her garden, fascinating.
We are further north from the Antonine Wall (southern edge of the Cairngorms) . It almost looks like the Romans could not be bothered going any further, too cold, too inhospitable, natives (ancient ones) not very friendly and definitely not Wine & Olives country…
The remnants of Roman life up here are just very small outposts, bits of pottery, some stone walls.
Movement of peoples & conquests is totally fascinating. So much is in our surroundings without us realising.
The Romans invented marine concrete - that is, concrete that sets underwater. Which is why so many of their port structures can still be seen. Towards the end of the (Western) empire, they were experimenting with automation. I wish I could find the references now but I remember a tombstone with a relief of a threshing machine on it. And somewhere in France there is a river with a series of watermills built down the entire length. The Roman empire wasn’t just Nero and gladiators, it was a (admittedly brutal) vibrant and resourceful civilisation which has given us language, law, architecture, plumbing and a lot more. Your apparent well cover is fascinating. The local archaeology group should have a look at it. Problem is there is so very much Roman stuff in France that the French are a bit blase about it. When we bought our house over here, we were advised that if we found any ancient walls in the garden, to cover them up quickly and tell no one !!
Not many people in the world think of my well cover as fascinating! So, thank you! That’s a magic moment!. I didn’t know about marine concrete, but read a bit about Roman watermills, and my house has a long recorded history as such. I think Ill go back to that, and read some more. Very small, no grand architecture.But with the bridge nearby, before it was demolished, very obviously very ancient, everything seems to hang together as a busy, industrial bend in the river, with a quarry here, and another with a viaduct only minutes away. Plus one of the main Roman roads nearby too and the camp/fort… Not so obviously a Roman road as many, no sign of stone slabs. But marked on all the Roman history maps. Looking down on my well cover today, from the river bank, it seems that there’s a kind of square dip in the dry river bed, (beside the DIY concrete top), with stone edges and quite a steady, if very thin, stream of_water, running into that, from the overhanging bank. The rough circular well cover, is much smaller than the square ‘pit’…
I must see if I can find more images. And try to understand what the construction might have been.
My micro island had some pretensions as a possible iron? mining territory, I think, as its original owners were a small mining company. Lots of bright red water, sometimes. Coming from the banks of the island .
It is hard to love Roman culture, I know they gave the ancient Brits great gifts and education, but they all but killed off the supply of wild animals, from Africa, brought back to be hacked to bits for fun.
The Celts are interesting, and their fight for survival against Rome, I’d like to read more about that. They were sophisticated and advanced, beyond Roman influence, I believe. Just a few held on and with a few from Britain, created the Celtic/Breton culture.
No!! No such thing as an archeological society anywhere near!!
The website for ancient remains eg Menhirs, has some good information about all kinds of things.
I took its photo from above, definitely roughly rectangular, but staring at it for a while, it seems, in fact, to be a tiny spring.
I’ve got quite a solid lavoir, built onto the bank of the island…One or two locals remember grandmothers bringing baskets of washing down to wash there, and I found some nice little bits of pot too, there. Most recently a tiny bit of cream coloured ceràmic with a raised leaves and fruit pattern. A vine. Maybe for soap or whatever they used. Dropped into the river beside the stone slabs and never fished out… The “well” and the concrete lid, don’t seem to be in a useful spot as a lavoir, unless for when the river dried up and that squareish puddle remained…Its possible.
Examining it this eve…Im almost sure now, it has a tiny spring, ie. water rising up out of that square space, and overflowing to one side. I am going to make a paper boat, to test it as a “current” …it might be my imagination!
The water in that square puddle, and the trail of wet patches, is it spring
water, and is the well filled with debris, in the middle?..
Im going to inspect it now.
When we’re planning a trip to France, I use monumentum.fr to look up historic monuments/buildings/sites in a particular area. Usually I’m trolling for just about any site of interest, but just now I searched within the site using “roman” or “romain” and those terms brought up hundreds of sites on the map of France. Not all of them will be relevant, but for me sifting through is part of the fun. Too often the places are privately owned, though, so off limits to the casual visitor.
Excellent link! Thank you! This one will keep me peaceful for ages. Lots of info and connecting links for all kinds of very ancient monuments as well as Roman. My department bristles with many different markers.!! Its usually best to hunt out your own interests. Classic case for me, was when I was living in Wales, the castles, most popular and easy to find were the beastly ones, that spoke of Norman/English control and annihilation of Welsh language/culture. “We went to this pub, and do you know, they were all speaking in Welsh!” (Offended tone)
The stunning bits of Wales are those glorious ancient castles of the Princes of Powys, sometimes just ruins, not one signpost …but set in incredibly lovely, wild terrain.
This is lovely! And especially as I am still wondering about my teeny spring, on the river bed, with perhaps, rocky surround plus the big lid.
. It might have been a bath.!.. Didnt think of that before.If it survives the dry hot weather, that will be wonderful. Take some photos? There might already be an archeological photos topic, but if not we can start a new one. I will do it right away…I’ve got the two beautiful hand made, iron handles, on the concrete well lid.