Researchers have uncovered the end of July, in the Puy-de-Dôme, a hundred grain storage silos, dating from the Gauls. A unique find in France, reflecting the particularly advanced nature of Gallic society before its conquest by the Roman legions.
It is a discovery size of the Gauls, which comes a little dent the outdated image of the brutal and boorish warrior. Archaeologists have unearthed hundreds of silos, on the high plateau of Corent in the Puy-de-Dôme. A unique find, and invites to rethink the complexity and efficiency of the Gallic economy and reveals the Le Monde . Excavated since 2001, the site is already well known to researchers; several centuries BC it stood a large urban area occupied by the Arverni, a powerful confederation of tribes from the sixty tribes who occupied Gaul before the Roman conquest in -52 BC.
“This discovery was completely unexpected,” enthuses with the Le Figaro Matthieu Poux, Head of excavations and professor at the University of Lyon II. In late July, paleo-environmentalists Geolab Laboratory of Clermont-Ferrand readings are a bit away from the site, in the bed of a supposedly dry lake since the nineteenth century. “The pollen grains preserved in this basin may provide valuable clues to ancient environments,” explains Matthieu Poux. But very quickly, the researchers fall on a series of colored earth circles, indicating that the lake was already empty at the time of the iron, and especially that its soil was dug by man.
“By cutting these round shovel, we realized that it was silos dug in the ground,” says Matthieu Poux. A total of 125 of such cavities, arranged regularly in a clay soil, which may contain between 200 kg and one ton of grain, were identified. “But there could be between 600 and 1500″, says the archaeologist who also welcomes the ingenuity of the Gauls: “The silos are tightening up, presumably to facilitate closure and limit infiltration. With the fermentation, the remaining oxygen is rapidly consumed. This is the principle of Tupperware “
While in the Mediterranean, with generally calcareous, jars were used to store food in the clay regions simply dig directly!.: “It’s less complicated and especially less fragile,” notes the scientist. Carbon traces also indicate that the silos were sterilized by fire, probably between uses. “For now we do not know what they contained. Wheat, grain or perhaps vegetables … Analyses probably bring information about it, and a more precise dating” But the stratum discovery suggests that they predate the Roman conquest. Thereafter, all the silos were emptied and filled with earth.
At this point, we can only make speculations about their role, and they are many. While identical graves have already been discovered, Picardy and Alsace particular, never before archaeologists had found in such large numbers. “The scale of the device can not qu’interpeller. We are truly faced with something spectacular, and confirms that the Gauls were great farmers, says Matthieu Poux. They centralisaient foods and had certainly established a community economy, far from self-sufficient and family structures that we often tend to represent, “he continues, so far from the small village of Asterix.
Another detail that intrigues researchers: the location of the silos. “Their situation is quite atypical. We are in height, away from the farms and during the Allier passing below “explains Matthieu Poux. Two hypotheses emerge: either it has sought to protect crops with a view to a possible seat -the battle site of Gergovie is only a ten-kilometers, or we wanted to store them near the centers trade. “At the end of the period the Gallic Corent site extends over sixty hectares and has several thousand inhabitants. There is a market and a sanctuary. The discovery of these silos confirms that it is a good candidate to be the capital of the Arverni lost, “concluded the head of the excavations.
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