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AQUAE TARBELLICAE (Dax) Dept. Landes, France.

The settlement, on the left bank of the Adour River, lying in a low region bordered by low sand ridges, has been inhabited since the beginning of the Bronze Age. The presence of a hot spring (57° centigrade) determined its future, giving it its name, exactly that of the original inhabitants, the Tarbelli. In the 5th c. it became a civitas Aquensium.

The ramparts, built after the invasion of 276, were for the most part destroyed in the 19th c. Making an irregular quadrilateral of 1465 m, these walls (4 m thick), strengthened by 43 round turrets, enclosed an area of 12.6 ha.

About 20 m S of the hot spring, a wall E-W ca. 2 m wide separates the rest of the city from the boggy ground of the thermal quarter (many of the ancient structures there are on short piles). Three to five levels of successive occupation have been noted. Almost half of the known coins belong to the 4th c.; more than a quarter, to the 3d. The terra sigillata pottery is chiefly Spanish. Dax, one of the stops on the route from Bordeaux to Spain, was also the point of departure for Toulouse. Two cemeteries are known, one SE (the Peyrelongue quarter), the other SW, where the remains of St. Vincent, the first bishop and local martyr, were buried.


Reports in Bulletin de la Société de Borda (1876—); A. Blanchet, “Dax” in Les enceintes romaines de la Gaule (1907); F. Lot, Recherches sur la population et la superficie des cités remontant à la période gallo-romaine, part 3 (1953).


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