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AUGUSTA AMBIANORUM Seine-Maritime, France.

Located in the L'Abbé woods, ca. 4 km SE of the town of Eu. The name Augusta, transmitted by 7th c. texts, is probably that of an ancient estate; it appears again in the name of the modern village of Oust. The ruins correspond to the conciliabulum of a pagus (Ambianus), the name of which appears in the dedicatory inscription of a theater as CATUSLOV. The ensemble, partially excavated in the 19th c., covers more than 30 ha on a plateau dominating the valley of the Bresle.

The great temple, built under Septimius Severus at the farthest extension of the plateau, was perhaps dedicated to Rome and Augustus. Forming a quadrilateral (32 x 27 m), it consists of a vestibule in antis opening on a cella 13 m on a side; the whole was surrounded on three sides by a gallery 4 m wide. Built of local materials (flint and limestone) with brick bonding courses, it has lost its painted and carved decoration over the centuries. The cella was constructed on the ruins of a small pseudoperipteral temple, 8 m on a side, built under Antoninus. Part of its decorations (composite order) have survived.

These buildings occupied the site of a depository of sacred objects, used from the time of Augustus to that of Claudius. The area, which underwent architectural development about the middle of the 1st c. A.D., has yielded discoveries of importance, particularly for the study of Belgic numismatics. To the N, W, and S, soundings have revealed the presence of other buildings, perhaps linked by a portico. They appear to have been contemporaneous with the large temple, and to have replaced older (Flavian?) structures.

At an undetermined date, two parallel walls 84 m long and 13 m apart connected the vestibule of the large temple on the E with a square fanum measuring 12 m on a side. The fanum, excavated in the 19th c., was built on substructures of uncertain origin. The theater is 200 m to the E, on the E slope of the plateau, towards the forest. Its facade, still only partially excavated, is ca. 100 m long, and from the middle of the stage wall to the surrounding wall is ca. 60 m. This wall, which has been partially uncovered, was constructed of small blocks without brick bonding courses. It was modified and repaired, and during one of these modifications, in which flint, chalk, and tufa are mixed with brick, the stage wall was built in the 3d c. The stage shows traces of a colonnade with a decoration of over lapping leaves, supporting a wooden architrave to which a long inscription was applied at the time of construction. It gives the municipal cursus of a quattuor vir and the name of the pages.

To the SE the fields are scattered with remains which may be those of a bath house, and on the edge of the forest are large substructures.


L. Estancelin, “Mémoire sur les Antiquités de la Ville d'Eu et de son territoire,” Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de Normandie (1825); Cochet, “Fouilles du Bois l'Abbé,” Bulletin de la Commission des Antiquités de la Seine-Inferieure 3 (1872); E. Varambaux, “Notes sur des découvertes faites dans le canton d'Eu,” Annuaire des cinq départements de la Normandie (1873)PI; M. de Boûiard, ldquo;Informations,” Gallia (1966, 1968, 1970)I; M. Mangard, “Présentation des fouilles . . . d'Augusta Ambianorum,” Annuaire des cinq départements de la Normandie (1970).


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