Saturday, August 12, 2017

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Ancient Roman city "Little Pompei" unearthed in France

An archaeologist brushing a mosaic at Little Pompei
An "exceptional" archaeological find by French researchers is being dubbed a 'little Pompeii'.
"We're unbelievably lucky. This is undoubtedly the most exceptional excavation of a Roman site in 40 or 50 years," said Benjamin Clement, who is leading a 20-strong team of archaeologists on the banks of the Rhone river, about 30 kilometres south of Lyon.
The site unearthed on land awaiting construction of a housing complex covers an area of nearly 7,000 square metres, an exceptionally large size.
The remains of an entire Roman market district has been discovered by French archaeologists under villas and public buildings on the outskirts of the city of Vienne near Lyon, south-eastern France.
The discovery was made during excavations of almost 5,000 square meters of land, which began in April and are due to continue into December.
Clement said the remains contain well-preserved residences with mosaics in an excellent state.
The neighbourhood is believed to have been inhabited for around 300 years before being abandoned after the fires.
Many of the objects in place when the inhabitants fled, were conserved, turning it into a 'little Pompeii', a reference to the Roman city that was preserved after being buried by volcanic ash.
“We found three things, one of which is a part of Via Narbonensis which was the biggest road in southern France in the antiquity.”
"It's a marketplace that has been totally burned down, so you can find all the elements in the shops that the craftsmen had left behind to escape the flames," he said. "The other thing is the domus, the well-preserved aristocratic houses, with over 19 uncovered mosaics that enable us to better understand the ways of life in Vienne 2,000 years ago."


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