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BOUTAE (Annecy-Les-Fins) Haute-Savoie, France.

A small Allobrogian settlement at the outlet of an Alpine valley. It developed into a Gallo-Roman vicus of the city of Vienne under Augustus, when construction of the route from the Little St. Bernard Pass to Geneva began (completed under Claudius by a road linking it to Aix). The center of many industries, Boutae reached its apogee in the 2d c. Destroyed in the 3d c. by the German invasions, it recovered somewhat under Constantine but was conquered by the Burgundians in the 5th c.

At its height, the vicus covered a triangular area of 25 ha, the base of the triangle corresponding to the modern Avenue de Genève. Three cardines running NE-SW were crossed by the decumani, marking off regular insulae. In the N section of the settlement, where the N decumanus crossed the W cardo, was the forum, which was paved, first under Hadrian and twice thereafter, and surrounded by porticos. Close by on the NE side is a rectangular building (46 x 22 m) uncovered in 1959-66; inside it is a peripheral portico 3.7 m wide with a wall of mortared rubble faced with small blocks; the portico encloses a hall with a nave (35 x 11 m). A rectangular room (9 x 6 m) with a tiled floor extends into the axis of the long N side facing the forum; thls has been ldentified as the curia of the vicani Boutenses (CIL XII, 2532). On either side of the curia, in an unusual arrangement, is a semicircular exedra. The dimensions of the building, the strength of its foundations, its location on the edge of the forum, and the absence of domestic pottery all suggest that it may be the [basi]lica cum p[orticibus] mentioned in an inscription (CIL XII, 2533), a dedication dating from the reign of two emperors, perhaps Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus.

In the same N section of the vicus several houses have been found: the House of the Gold Coins, the House of the Galleries, the House of the Columns, and the Double House; farther S are the Hypocaust House and the House of the Fresco. A number of workshops have also been located.

To the SE are a temple attributed to Mercury and, close by it, a little theater, recognized by a fragmentary inscription (CIL XII, 2539) and by the discovery of some curved tiers at the edge of an open area that had sometimes been thought to be a second forum. Several pottery strata, S of the theater, have yielded quantities of potsherds from different workshops; this S section of Boutae seems to have been mainly industrial in character.

A peculiarity of this vicus is that it got its water supply not from an aqueduct but from wells; some 40 have been located.

At the W end of the vicus on what is now the Boulevard de Rocade, between the Avenue des Iles and the Avenue des Romains, is a large inhumation necropolis that was used in Roman times and again in the Burgundian era.

Terraced on the neighboring hillsides are luxurious villas. A suburb also grew up on the Thiou river around a port, indicated by the tiles frequently unearthed in the center of the modern city of Annecy, around the Rue J. J. Rousseau.

Objects found on the site are housed in the Annecy museum.


C. Marteaux & M. Le Roux, Boutae, vicus gallo-romain de la cité de Vienne (1913); P. Broise, “Annecy aux temps gallo-romains,” Annesci 3 (1955) 9-54; id., “Bilan des découvertes archéologiques aux Fins d'Annecy de 1930 à 1960,” Actes du 85e congrès national des Sociétés savantes, Chambéry-Annecy, 1960 (1962) 104-9P; id., “Un gisement de céramique commune aux Fins d'Annecy,” Annesci 12 (1965) 89-90; id., “Découverte d'un édifice public sur le site gallo-romain de Boutae,” Latomus 27 (1968) 33-44.


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