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ALLAS-LES-MINES Dordogne, France.

A Gallo-Roman villa was found here in 1949 (mosaics), and important work buildings belonging to it were uncovered in 1956. These form a rectangular complex (31 x 11 m), terraced from W to E on a hillside. The buildings are of masonry with a fairly coarse facing of small squared blocks. All the walls are coated with mortar containing broken tiles, dark red in color. The floors are well built and made of a concrete of small stones covered with a thick concrete of broken tiles. There are three main parts:

1. A room opening on the W front (10.8 m S-N x 5.32 in W-E). The floor slopes slightly toward the E. The joint between the floor and the walls is decorated with a quarter-round molding made of a concrete of broken tiles.

2. A room (10.8 x 6.65 m) of which only the foundations and part of the floor to the S remain.

3. A complex, modified several times. It has not been possible as yet to reach the E end. The most important elements are: to the W a large pool (a), raised in relation to the floor around it and with its long sides running N-S (6.34 x 1.22 m); the sides and bottom are covered with an extremely fine coating of broken tiles. In the middle of the E side a drain leads down to a smaller pool (b), similar in construction but without a drain. Two treads can be seen on the edges; clearly they were for holding beams on which vessels could be rested, to be taken away as they were filled (probably wooden troughs). Farther E is a wall 90 cm thick built in a right angle; it supported the base of a very well-built structure (2.5 m sq.) the floor of which had a very thin coating of plaster and perhaps was covered with marble slabs in the middle. Area (c) was drained by a pipe of lead-tin alloy into another basin slightly lower, which has a deep cup-shaped depression, no doubt to hold a vessel which was removed when filled. In area (c) was found a Tuscan capital of limestone.

The purpose of the first two buildings is still uncertain; some believe they were watertight, but it is hard to imagine that they were large tanks in the absence of any traces of outflow. The third complex consists of a large wine press (a) that emptied into vats placed under the basin (b); (c) and (d) very probably belong to a winch press, identical to that represented on the square medallions of the Saint-Roman-en-Gal mosaic in the Musée des Antiquités Nationales.

As for dates, excavations have revealed only a few scattered potsherds (suggesting the use of casks, possibly stored in the first two rooms?) and seven coins from the end of the 1st c. and the end of the 3d c. A.D. The complex appears to have been built and used in the 1st c.; only the later section (the wine press and winch press) were used thereafter. Traces of a fire were found to the SE, a probable indication that the complex was destroyed at the end of the 3d c.


P. Grimal, “Informations archéologiques,” Gallia 7,1 (1949) 130-31 and fig. 2. J. Coupry, ibid. 15,2 (1957) 240-41; 17,2 (1959) 390-95. L. Maurin, “Etablissement vinicole à Allas-les-Mines (Dordogne),” Gallia 22,1 (1964) 209-21.


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