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NEMETACUM later ATREBATUM (Arras) Pas de Calais, France.

Mentioned by Caesar in the Gallic Wars, in the 4th c. it adopted the name of the civitas, Atrebatum, of which it was chief town. Situated on a high plateau, it has no navigable waterway; the Scarpe, at the N boundary of the city, is navigable only below Douai. At the confluence of the Gy and the Scarpe, W of Arras, was an important oppidum, the so-called Camp de César at Etrun, which is still remarkably well preserved.

The city is divided into three unequal sections: the city proper, the Baudimont quarter, which was ringed with a rampart in the Late Empire; the sector separated from the city by the Grinchon creek, which appears to represent the Roman city at its period of greatest expansion under the Empire; and finally the Méaulens quarter to the NW, at the confluence of the Scarpe and the Baudimont creek, where the Cassel and Therouanne roads apparently met in Roman times. There is no trace of any place of amusement or prestige monument, no theater, basilica, or forum. Some sections of streets were located in the 19th c., but it was not until 1946 that systematic excavations began, in particular in the Baudimont quarter. These excavations have located houses along with their cellars, determined the extent of the city and, especially, uncovered a late 2d c. stratum destroyed by fire, perhaps as a result of the Chauci invasion of 172-174.

Salvage work in the last few years has clarified certain elements of the topography of the ancient city. In 1965 an important fragment of the wall of the Late Empire city was discovered under the Prefecture, tucked away in the center of the strongly fortified city of Baudimont. This would indicate a castrum with a total area of 8 ha, and the discovery of a trench E of the castrum confirms its boundaries.

At Les Blancs Moats on the Saint Polsur Ternoise road a complex of potter's kilns was found accidentally, and nearby several ditches of early date. A tomb of the Late Iron Age has also been located. All the finds are now in the Arras museum. The textile industry of the Late Empire is known to us chiefly from texts, no archaeological remains having been found. Finds made below ground suggest that building stones were quarried here. Very recently an aerial survey has located some ancient agricultural complexes E of Arras.


A. Terninck, Arras Gallo-romain (1866); CIL XIII, 3531; F. Vercauteren, Etudes sur les civitates de la Belgique Seconde (1934) 181-204; G. Bellanger, “Fouilles du site gallo-romain de la cité d'Arras,” Revue du Nord 29 (1948) 207-12; J. Heurgon, “Arras, Fouilles en 1952 de M. Bellanger et du Dr Bourgeois à Baudimont,” Gallia 12 (1954) 135-36; M. Wheeler & K. Richardson, Hill-Forts of Northern France (1957) s.v. Etrun; A. Leduque, Recherches topo-historiques sur l'Atrébatie (1966) 43-56; G. Jelski, Bull. Coin. Départ. Mon. Hist. Pas de Calais 9 (1971); Septentrion 17 (1974) 13-20.


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