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RAURANUM (Rom) Deux-sèvres, France.

An important Gallo-Roman settlement on the ancient Poitiers-Saintes road (Peutinger Table and Antonine Itinerary), and at the junction of roads from Nantes, Limoges, and Périgueux. Ausonius had a villa here. Some scattered finds made in the 19th c. drew attention to the site: milestones of Tetricus and Tacitus, a cippus from the Gallo-Roman cemetery, etc. These monuments are in the Musée des Antiquaires de l'Ouest at Poitiers.

In 1887 excavations on the boundary of the present village, toward the Couhé road, uncovered the Gallo-Roman substructures of a rectangular building with a number of rooms, two of them with hypocausts. Galleries ran all around the complex. Some meters from the praefurnium in one of the rooms was a well (1.8 m in diameter and 20 m deep) from which a set of leaden tablets were recovered. One of them (ca. 9 x 7 cm) had on each side a Celtic inscription in a cursive Latin script. It is an imprecation tablet and is now in the Musée de Saint-Germain.

In 1898 what may be the remains of a civic basilica built at the crossroads were found in the area known as Tresvées just outside the settlement, at the junction of three Roman roads. The archaeologists' plan shows a rectangular building (73 x 44 m) with a 23 m semicircular apse on its N side.

In Merovingian times a huge cemetery was created in the ruins of the Roman city. The sarcophagi are said sometimes to lie three deep, especially around the church. They are usually trapezoidal, and their lids are generally decorated with a band with three cross-bars. Some 5th-7th c. funerary inscriptions have been found.


J. Berthelé, Antiquités gallo-romaines et mérovingiennes trouvées à Rom, Deux-sèvres (1883); C. Jullian, “Les fouilles de M. Blumereau, à Rom,” Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de France 58 (1899); A. Grenier, Manuel d'archéologie gallo-romaine, III (1958); for the Celtic tablets see C. Jullian, Revue Celtique (April 1898); E. Nicholson, The Language of Continental Picts (1900); id., Zeitschr. I. cel. Phil. 3 (1901); J. Rhys, The Celtic Inscriptions of France and Italy (1906); Abbé Chapeau, Bulletin des Antiquaires de l'Ouest (1924); O. Haas, Bulletin des Antiquaires de l'Ouest (1961).


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