Archeology: Agriculture at the beginning of our era

Each year, European Archeology Days take us to the past. At Famars, in the Valenciennes region, excavations carried out over the past few years have enabled us to discover agriculture at the beginning of our era.

Archaeological excavation site in Famars with Raphaël Clotuche and Jennifer Clerget from Inrap. © LT

Given the density of remains found when we made the trenches for diagnostics, we doubted we’d find anything like that. », Jennifer Clerget, archaeologist with the National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap), rejoices. In this street Famars (59), a few kilometers from Valenciennes, diggers, wheelbarrows and shovels are painstakingly digging in the ground in search of ancient traces. ” We rescue what’s leftArchaeologists added. What is found is washed, sorted, inventory, photographed and preserved. » When Inrap teams leave the facility, an individual will build his or her home on this historic piece of land. For now, he is patiently waiting while Jennifer Clerget and her colleagues investigate. ” We are at the edge of a road, we still have to discover its boundaries. »

Beer or certificate

This key dates back to the late Bronze Age (between -930 and -800) and was used to make haystacks. © INRAP

Raphaël Clotuche has been exploring this field for almost 20 years. ” Already, works of the fourteenth centurye prove that there are things in Famars, he commented. Under Louis XIV, the painter Antoine Watteau brought back to Paris what farmers found in the fields while plowing: we have the head of an eagle, the head of a goat, the statue of Apollo. These objects take us back to ancient times, back to the selfe century of our time, when Famars was called Fanum Martis. Scheldt and Rhonelle are navigable, pretty good land, strategic location. This city covers an area of ​​​​up to 200 hectares, 10% of which has been discovered by Inrap, making this fairy complex the most excavated in France. Raphaël Clotuche is timeless on this subject. It depicts the life of the years in which each object is found making it possible to capture more aspects. ” We found residues of threshing grain, traces of horse breeding, flakes of pigs, therefore intended for export. “, he quoted. Traces of the presence of major tax inspectors were found: we infer that the city was then concentrated in an important economic activity. ” More than 1,000 hectares of grain depend directly on the city, Raphaël Clotuche continued. They provide food for the city and are exported. Famars also produced Bavay clay wares and amphorae produced later found on the border of Germany, Switzerland and across the English Channel. Inside, we hold a liquid made from grains…” Beer or beer “, Supposed to be an archaeologist. Around the 100s to 120s, the city had a square shape, an indication of its population density, and a forum and a theater were placed during archaeological excavations. ” Glue is also made from the bones of cows killed in Famars. They come from the neighboring countryside, possibly from uneducated neighborhoods. On the other hand, there are no traces of complete chickens in the areas that have been excavated. ” They certainly came to be chopped down after being killed elsewhere. »

Hippos take care of horses’ paws. © INRAP

The city becomes a village again

And then the Lower Empire marked the transformation of the city into a military center. Forts are built, populations are moved we don’t know where », Soldiers – peasant soldiers – came to farm when they were not mobilized into the army. ” Burnt batches of fava beans were found and showed us that faba beans were planted. Very few traces of the Carolingian period and the Middle Ages. Famars became a small village again. An opportunity for archeology. ” This is what made it possible to leave traces of the Romans. » Today, scythes, fossils, saws, hoof boots and sickles are preciously preserved by Inrap in Acicourt (62).

Louise Tesse

Read more: National Agriculture Day: Open the door to better understanding

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