(Escolives-Sainte-Camille) Yonne, France.
On the left bank of the Yonne valley, 180 km
S of Paris and 10 km S of Auxerre (along national
road 6). No historical document mentions the site,
which was discovered by accident in the spring of 1955.
The origin of the settlement seems to lie in a Vauclusian
spring called Le Creusot. In its immediate vicinity, excavations have brought to light burials going from the
Neolithic to the Iron Age period. The remains of the
Gallo-Roman settlement extended over several hectares.
The Merovingians placed their burials in the Gallo-Roman ruins.
The investigations begun in 1955 are still in progress.
A bathing establishment has been brought to light at
Le Pré du Creusot. Two stages have been described in
detail. The first is mainly attested by a rectangular basin
whose bottom and sides were lined with slabs of white
marble. The second, probably dating to the beginning of
the 4th c., consists of several series of swimming pools
with their adjoining rooms. It is all connected by a rather
large courtyard, partly flagged. East of this courtyard is
located a large basin (9 x 5 x 0.8 m) flanked by two
small semicircular pools. To the N can be seen the remains of two rooms with hypocausts; they end in apses.
Near them stand the latrines, whose floors were made
of large limestone slabs which have been preserved intact. To the W, the largest baths consist of three semicircular pools, each preceded by a room heated by a hypocaust. The whole is under the shelter of metal
What gives this site prominence is that the walls of
the last period were built on foundations made of architectural blocks from one or several monuments whose
location, plan, and function are unknown. These pieces
have been extracted, cleaned, given protection, and put
on display conveniently in a warehouse built on the site,
where they may be studied. More than 100 blocks have
been stored up to the present, not counting the many
fragments collected here and there during the work on
the totality of the excavated area. They consist essentially of bases and drums of columns, keystones, architraves, friezes, and cornices. They are worked or carved on two sides, which makes them even more attractive.
Most of them seem to belong to one and the same monument. It must have consisted of a series of arches, each
with an opening of less than 2 m. For that reason and
also because it was ca. 0.4 m thick, it must have had a
certain elegance. Seen from the outside it presented a
series of engaged columns. The frieze must have been
illustrated with scenes which changed at each bay. Thus,
one can see themes of the vine, of palmetto decorations,
of animals, or mythological scenes. This group can be
compared to the portico at Vienne (France), but the
similarity is in any event a distant one. One may suppose the date to be in the 2d c. Besides these blocks, the
following should be mentioned: a stela dedicated to the
goddess Rosmerta alone, with an inscription (185-215);
a votive altar dedicated to Smertulus (?); a block depicting a hunting scene; several funerary stelae; and some pyramidal tombstones.
From the remains which have been found, the site
seems to have been occupied from the 1st c. to the end
of the Gallo-Roman period. The latest piece of evidence seems to be a gold coin of Arcadius. The site was
destroyed by a fire, which brought an end to the prosperity of ancient Scoliva. The Roman road named after Agrippa passed nearby and served the site.
C. Bémont, “A propos d'un nouveau
monument de Rosmerta,” Gallia
27.2 (1969) i; R. Martin,
Reports in Gallia
(1958, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968) i;
R. Kapps, Escolives-Sainte-Camille Gallo-Romain