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The Grande Limagne plain (Auvergne, France) : a laboratory for systematic fieldwalking. The case of the largest Gallo-Roman villas

Abstract : Over the past twenty years, the Grande Limagne plain has been the object of one of the most extensive programmes of systematic fieldwalking ever conducted in France. These pedestrian surveys are coupled with aerial surveys and paleoenvironmental studies that allow us to reconstruct with great precision the complex dynamics of the interactions between societies and environment since the Neolithic period. This region is integrated at a larger scale into the context of the Massif Central, which is in turn investigated through numerous methods (pedestrian and aerial surveys, geophysics, Lidar, paleoenvironmental studies). The contribution will focus on the systematic fieldwalking conducted in the Grande Limagne, a sedimentary basin known since Antiquity for the fertility of its black soil (celebrated by Sidonius Apollinarius), but also for the compelling nature of a hydrological system which required a permanent drainage of extensive marshes. As such, this region is a real laboratory for the study of the relationship between society and wetlands. It is also an extraordinary laboratory for the study of land use, on the one hand because of the high density of settlement, and on the other because conditions for prospecting are exceptionally favourable, due to the pervasive nature of ploughland and special taphonomic conditions. While the sites are only thinly covered, they have been under assault by agricultural activity only since the Plan Limagne was set up in 1960–1970 to drain the swamps. This makes it possible (for the Roman period in particular) to identify, map, and characterize nearly complete settlements, which are spaced at an average distance of 250 m, and of reconstructing the system of settlement in its continuity. The paper will present the taphonomic conditions, on-site and off-site prospecting methods, field data recording system, cross-referencing to aerial survey data, and – finally – a brief case study concerning the largest Gallo-Roman villae.
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Contributor : Frédéric Trément Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Saturday, July 14, 2018 - 5:00:03 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - 9:16:02 PM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01839358, version 1



Frédéric Trément, Florian Baret, Maxime Calbris, Hugo Regad. The Grande Limagne plain (Auvergne, France) : a laboratory for systematic fieldwalking. The case of the largest Gallo-Roman villas. Funde in der Landschaft. Neue Perspektiven une Ergebnisse archäologischer Prospektion, Christine Keller, Christoph Wohlfarth, Jun 2017, Köln, Germany. pp.193-215. ⟨halshs-01839358⟩



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