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Preventive excavations: a whole horse cut in two found near the station, in Chartres

Preventive archaeological excavations, begun in March, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Jean, in the gardens of old houses, located just behind Chartres station, will make it possible to learn even more about Austria

in Gallo-Roman times. But also about life in Chartres in the Middle Ages.

At this place, were located the suburbs of the Gallo-Roman city. The ditch was 200 meters away. The heart of the city was laid out higher, around the present site of the cathedral. There were in the suburbs, in the 1st century AD, craft activities, related to fire, such as blacksmiths, metallurgy.

cellars, cellars
“They were set up on the outskirts, in order to keep the fire away from the houses”, explains David Wavelet, responsible for this excavation operation. Traces of craftsmanship were found during previous operations near the station.

The six archaeologists of the Chartres Métropole archaeological service have not yet found any traces of craftsmanship.

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Exhibition dedicated to mammoths at the Museum of Fine Arts in Chartres on Sunday: “We hope this will be the first of a long series”

“For the moment, what we find are the bottoms of cellars, cellars. Traces of dwellings, which probably belong to inhabitants of the Roman city, who were relatively modest” David Wavelet.

They could date from the beginning of the 1st century AD. Fragments of pottery and crockery were found in these cellars. Not far from there, archaeologists unearthed a Roman road, unknown until then.

“It’s a new axis, says the head of the excavations. We know that it is a road, because the flint used is well rammed, most certainly with the help of tools. This flint comes from the surroundings. » David Wavelet


A road on the side of hills

This axis is located perpendicular to the routes already known. It unfolds over 2.50 meters wide. For the moment it stops short at the level of the wall of the plot. “We don’t know where it comes from, but it is most certainly heading towards Mainvilliers. It is a route organized on the side of hills, which follows the slope. This axis must have appeared at the time of the creation of the Roman city, at the beginning of the 1st century AD. »

For some unknown reason, after the 2nd century AD, this district and these suburbs were abandoned by their inhabitants. “We know that after the city is reorganized in its center, the urban area decreases. Then, in the Middle Ages, around the 12th century, these plots belonged to the parishes. There were probably farms there. A discovery reinforces this conviction of archaeologists.

Yves Coppens, paleontologist: “It’s funny to see that man followed exactly the same route as the mammoth”

It didn’t fit completely in the pit

A cow and two entire horses were discovered. Earlier this week, archaeologists found a third horse, also whole but cut in half. “It’s quite amazing,” says David Wavelet.

“It was placed in the pit, in two very distinct parts. The rear part placed on the pelvis and the front part with the head installed next to it. The most pragmatic explanation is to think that the horse did not fit whole in this pit and that is why it was cut into two parts. In any case, there is clearly a will. » David Wavelet


A mystery for archaeologists, which they will try to clarify thanks to a zoo archaeologist, who is part of the service. Excavations at this site continue until May.

Old name given to the city of Chartres, which was considered the capital of the Carnutes, a Gallic people.

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