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NOVEM CRARIS (Les Granges-Gontardes) Drôme, France.

In Gallia Narbonensis. A statio, set up at the time Agrippa's road was built (which crosses it like a cardo), ca. 35 B.C. It stood at a native crossroads built possibly in the 4th c. B.C., judging from an amphora of the Massaliote type, some sherds of painted pseudo-Ionian ware and some local bucchero found there. Some 1st c. A.D. baths (a room with a hypocaust has been found) were part of the statio.

Close by were two buildings, their walls built of quarry stones bonded with mortar and faced with at least two layers of paint: the first layer, which is Augustan, is dotted to make the base of the second adhere well; in the second coat, a floral design dates from the Flavian era (late 1st c.). A number of white marble fragments have been found there as well as some sherds of La Graufesenque and Banassac ware. The second building, which is filled with iron slag, contains a furnace for reducing iron ore. Remains of other furnaces have also been located: the statio was a metalworking center. One of the furnaces is now in the Musée du Fer at Nancy. At the end of the 3d c. (250-280—the dates are known from coins and pottery) the statio was destroyed and the walls razed. This is corroborated by cremation tombs and cineraria where several objects were found, including a bone pin and coins, all post-3 13, and a store of 27 coins with a bronze key, dated 330-360. The statio was not rebuilt but served as a necropolis for the new settlement.

What took its place was probably a mutatio, mentioned under the name Novem Craris in 333 in the Itinerary from Bordeaux to Jerusalem. It was discovered in 1961 S of the 1st c. statio, and it includes a central building with annexes. Judging from the material found here and especially the grave gifts—remains of iron, bronze disks, a lamp fragment from the late 4th-early 5th c.—found in the tile-covered tombs of the necropolis (oriented NW-SE), the site was probably occupied by a barbarian garrison, possibly German. Many of the skeletons were those of women; often the skull was missing, suggesting decapitation, practiced in the Merovingian period.

The remains of some baths have been located in a Gallo-Roman villa near the presbytery, including three pools, separated by a courtyard 5.3 m long from a fourth pool farther E. The walls of the first pool, which is rectangular, are of quarry stones faced with a thick layer of mortar (opus-signinum) with a fresco of red and blue; the floor is made of pebbles bonded with mortar. The second, larger, pool is also rectangular, and the bottom is covered with opus-signinum. The third is semicircular; the presence of hypocaust piles and suspensurae show that it was a heated pool. The fourth, beyond the courtyard, is rectangular; the bottom is of opus-signinum and the sides are covered with mosaics.


J. Sautel, Carte archéologique de la Gaule romaine XI, Drôme (1957) 30, no. 39; C. Boisse, “Rapports de fouilles à la Direction des Antiquités Rhône-Alpes, Lyon 1961-1969” (unpubl.); A. Bruhl & M. Leglay, “Informations,” Gallia 20 (1962) 648; 22 (1964) 532; 24 (1966) 518-19; 26 (1968) 593-94; M. Leglay, “L'archéologie drômoise. Découvertes récentes,” Bull. Soc. d'archéologie de la Drôme 76 (1966) 352.


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