Sunday, September 02, 2012

From Roman legionnaires to cathedral builders

In the heart of the historic center of Strasbourg, classified as a World Heritage Site, a team of Inrap archaeologists are currently excavating the Place du Château at the foot of the cathedral. This work is curated by the State (Drac Alsace). 
This excavation, realized as part of the restoration of the site by the City and the Urban Community of Strasbourg, presents a unique opportunity to explore the Antique origins of the city, to discover the Roman camp of the Legio VIII Augusta, and to uncover remains associated with the construction of the cathedral. 
The camp of the Legio VIII Augusta
The origins de Strasbourg coincide with the installations of the Roman army. The Legio VIII Augusta was established in the Antique city of Argentorate in the 90's AD. Its 6000 men built a permanent camp covering nearly 20 hectares, which would later become the core of the Episcopal city during the Middle Ages, now the current center of the city. In the context of several previous operations, Inrap archaeologists have already explored this camp, including the rue Brûlée in 2008 where part of the barracks of the legionnaires was uncovered. Today, the excavation of the Place du Château concerns another part of the camp, the praetentura, which contains, among other things, the houses of six tribunes and other barracks of the legionnaires and their centurions.