Senon-Amel (Meuse) France
The ancient settlement and its micro-regional environment
For the past fifteen years, the ancient agglomeration of Senon-Amel and its micro-region have been the subject of new multidisciplinary research combining non-destructive investigation techniques (pedestrian, aerial, geophysical and LiDAR surveys) and preventive and programmed sedimentary excavation operations.
Project leader and author of the maps: Simon Ritz, Inrap Grand Est - EA 1132 HISCANT-MA, University of Lorraine.
Project being finalized
The documentation available on the agglomeration and the surrounding rural area now includes 33 excavations, 220 ha of geophysical imagery (electrical, magnetic and georadar), a LiDAR survey covering a surface area of just over 13,000 ha, 1,645 aerial photographs and pedestrian surveys documenting 272 settlement points dating from the Second Iron Age to the early Middle Ages, spread over an area of 212 km².
These data form the methodological basis of a doctoral thesis recently defended at the University of Lorraine (Ritz 2020). A digital archaeological atlas was developed within the framework of the work in the form of a GIS, in order to bring together the mass of available sources in a systematic and standardised manner. It is now a question of putting this data online via the Chronocarto platform, in order to make it more easily accessible to the project’s scientific collaborators, but also to enhance it for a wider public.
The ancient agglomeration of Senon-Amel
The ancient agglomeration of Senon-Amel has the particularity of developing in the form of two poles of urban remains, 1.5 km apart and occupied simultaneously during most of Roman Antiquity, from the middle of the 1st century AD to the middle of the 4th century AD at least.
This bipolar configuration is exceptional in the urban planning of northern Roman Gaul, and its most striking expression is undoubtedly the duplication of public buildings: each urban pole is equipped with a complete monumental panoply, including several temples, baths and a theatre.
Current research is attempting to clarify the origin and evolution of this unusual urban layout. The question is primarily addressed through a detailed analysis of the forms and dynamics of occupation of each urban centre over time, seeking to highlight their possible functional specificities and to characterise the nature of their relationships at different stages of their history.
The conurbation is also placed in its micro-regional environment, understood in the double sense of anthropic and natural landscape, based on the principle that the relations between the city and its "surrounding country" contribute to the understanding of both of these spaces.
The question of the origin and evolution of urban bipolarity therefore implies a dynamic examination of the relations between the two urban poles and their environment.
Ritz S., Senon-Amel (Meuse) : Contribution d’une agglomération bipolaire à l’histoire du fait urbain dans le nord-est de la Gaule, du second âge du Fer au haut Moyen Âge, doctoral thesis in archaeology, Nancy : Université de Lorraine, 2020, 2 vols, 434 and 319 p. Abstract online.