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CAINO (Chinon) Touraine, France.

On the river Vienne, 16 km upstream from its confluence with the Loire at Condate (Candes, where St. Martin died about 397), and 48 km SW of Caesarodunum, capital of the Civitas Turanorum (Tours). Earlier a Gallic oppidum (Caino is a Celtic word meaning beautiful, related to German schön), in Roman times it was a prosperous small town. At the end of the 3d c. the castle was walled against the Bagaudes and other invaders. An important pre-Roman road linking Caesarodunum (Tours) to Lugdunum (Loudun) and Poitou, by Rotomagus (Pont-de-Ruan) crossed the Vienne at a ford 4.8 km upstream of Chinon, at Riparia (Rivière).

Excavations in 1824-26 in several parts of the castle led to the discovery of the Gallo-Roman 3d c. wall, made of huge blocks of stone, fragments of reused sculptures, funeral stelai, etc., from local monuments, and hard mortar. Under the wall were found 15 holes filled with ashes. The principal sculptures are preserved in towers of the castle and the Archaeological Museum in Tours. Roman coins of Postumus (261-267) and Tetricus (268-273) come from the same excavations.

Villas have been found in the town and on its E border, with hypocausts, fragments of columns, coins, sherds of sigillata and other wares, tiles, etc.; the principal sites are la Grange Liénard, l'Olive Guéritaude, and l'Hôtel de France. The material is preserved in the local Musée des Amis du Vieux Chinon.


M. Duvernay, “Recherches archéologiques et découverte de matériel gallo-romain au Château de Chinon de 1824 à 1826,” Bull. trimest. de la Soc. Archéol. de Touraine 12,2 (1900) 121-30; G. Richault, Histoire de Chinon (1926) 11-25; R. Mauny, “Poteries gallo-romaines trouvées à Chinon,” Bull. Soc. des Amis du Vieux Chinon 5,1-2 (1946-47) 60-61; J. Boussard, Carte archéologique de la Gaule romaine, Fasc. XIII, Indreet-Loire (1960) 35-37; J. Zocchetti, R. Mauny, & A. Heron, “Découverte d'une villa gallo-romaine à Chinon,” Bull. Soc. Amis du Vx. Chinon, 6,10 (1966) 164-70.


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