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MEDIOLANUM BITURIGUM (Châteaumeillant) Cher, France.

The Mediolanum of the Peutinger Table between Néris (Aquae Nerii) and Argenton (Argentomagus) can be identified with the modern Châteaumeillant. Five Roman roads met there, including one coming from the Rhône valley and the Argenton road leading W. The oppidum covered 18 ha. It was protected to the S by a wall, to the E and W by two small rivers, and to the N, above the junction of the rivers, by a ditch, which can be recognized, crossing the mediaeval town.

The old finds (material filling ancient pits and ditches, massive stores of amphorae) were attributed without distinction to the Roman period. Excavations were begun in 1956 in the settlement and in the sloping rampart; they demonstrate the importance of the Gallic town. New trenches were found with amphorae aligned in them: some of them were simply stores of empty or used receptacles; others were wine cellars which had been abandoned suddenly. All the amphorae found in groups at Châteaumeillant are Republican: Dressel IA Italic types and variants of the Graeco-Italic types with wide or elongated bodies. There were small pieces of floors and remains of diggings, with abundant pottery dating from the end of La Tène II to about 30 B.C.; dumps of the time of Augustus and the Julio-Claudians in the dug-out bottoms of earlier dwellings; and pits filled with trash of the earlier Empire. Under the sloping rampart there was a murus gallicus with posts notched together and with stone facings. It contained preconquest pottery with polished features. The murus was already damaged when it was covered by the sloping construction, probably at the beginning of the Gallo-Roman period.

Mediolanum provides one of the richest deposits of amphorae on land. It played an important part, either as a stopping point or a market, in the Italian wine trade from the end of the 2d c. B.C. until the period of the conquest (and perhaps later, since its destruction in 52 B.C. is not certain). This trade ended before the appearance of the large amphorae of the time of Augustus, rare at Mediolanum. An earth wall covered the ruined murus at that time. The settlement was active in the 1st c. A.D., but retained clay dwellings of traditional type. It continued to exist in the 2d c., but no public monument of Roman type was built. It seems to have suffered during the invasions of the 3d c. and vegetated in the Late Empire. This idiosyncratic history and the exceptional potential for studies of pottery, both before and after the conquest, are among the major points of interest at the site of Mediolanum.

The local museum has on exhibit remains of the murus gallicus, a bust of a god with a torque found in a ritual pit of the time of Augustus, and a first-class ceramic collection. The Bourges museum has a part of the old finds.


E. Chenon, Hist. de Châteaumeillant I (1940); J. Gourvest & E. Hugoniot, “Un emporium gaulois à Châteaumeillant,” Ogam 9 (1957); id., “L'oppidum de Mediolanum” (Actes du Ier colloque d'Etudes Gauloises), Ogam (1960); C. Picard, “Informations arch.,” Gallia 17 (1959); A. Cothenet, “Les trouvailles monétaires gauloises de Châteaumeillant” (Actes du 3eme colloque) Ogam (1962); E. Hugoniot, “Un nouveau dépôt d'amphores à Châteaumeillant,” ibid.


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