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Site in the areas known as Le Champ Crezette and Le Boeuf d'Or, ca. 20 km E of Amiens and a little S of the road from Amiens to Bavay through Albert, Bapaume, and Cambrai.

The existence of buildings was first discovered by aerial photography; they were thought to be a large Roman villa and its dependencies, similar to ca. 600 others in Picardy located from the air. The photographs showed three rectangular courtyards arranged in a row, with buildings set symmetrically on either side. Excavation revealed that the buildings E of the N courtyard were heated by hypocaust and had painted walls, an indication of luxury also found in what was believed to be the main residential building; it had painted walls, marble plaques, and sculptured decoration. These finds, in rural villas, were in fact part of a great rural sanctuary, as the discovery of the square double plan of a fanum or temple later confirmed.

The cella, 16.75 m on a side, stood on a podium at least 2 m high. The open space around the podium was surrounded by a wall, also square, on the SE side of which a square niche impinging on the podium was later added. Here a small place of worship was set up (three rectangular blocks, perhaps an altar base) exactly on the axis of the cella, after the temple was destroyed in the Late Empire. The temple was decorated with carvings, had Corinthian capitals, engaged columns, a monumental entrance, and walls painted with floral designs. These remains date from an elaborate restoration in the Severan period. Before that the site seems to have been deserted for some time, as evidenced by an incineration tomb found in the niche area. It is still uncertain to which divinity the temple was dedicated: neither the decorative carving nor even the epigraphic evidence (a plaque, of which there are three copies, with the legend MIN/FER/ QUE) provide a definitive answer.

The temple is merely the N section of the whole complex; to the S and on the same axis were a theater, later made into an amphitheater-theater, and farther S, at the edge of the Ribemont territory, an area containing remains of hypocausts. If baths are identified in this area the comparison with Champlieu will be evidence in itself.

Excavation has confirmed the identical chronology of temple and theater. It still remains to be proved that they date from the last years of independence, but the major foundation work certainly began under Nero and was followed immediately by a series of partial modifications. The change to amphitheater-theater may possibly date from Marcus Aurelius. The oval arena that was added is similar in dimensions to the amphitheater-theaters of Soissons, Augst, and Vieux (internal axis of arena ca. 10 m). The plan of the complex based on the archaeological evidence has been strikingly confirmed by more aerial photographs.

The original purpose of this group of buildings is still debated. Was it a religious complex built for a people whose city has not yet been located, or one of the rural fora that took over from the coaciliabula, the meeting places of the Gallic tribes erected on their territorial boundaries? The discovery of a trench filled with objects from Iron Age III, the relatively early date of the first construction, and the absence of any Roman settlement in the immediate vicinity all argue in favor of the latter hypothesis, but decisive proof has yet to be found that the complex was first built in the Gallic period.


R. Agache, “Archéologie aérienne de la Somme,” Bull. Soc. Préhist. du Nord 6 (1964)I; id. et al., “Les villas gallo-romaines de ha Somme, aperçu préliminaire,” Revue du Nord 47 (1965) 541-76P; id., “Détection aérienne des vestiges protohistoriques, gallo-romains et médievaux,” Bull. Soc. Préhist. du Nord 7 (1970) 178-80, 184-86I; A. Ferdière, “Première campagne de fouilles dans la villa gallo-romaine de Ribemont-sur-Ancre,” Revue du Nord 48 (1966) 539-43P; E. Will, Gallia 27 (1969) 228-31I; J. L. Cadoux & J. L. Massy, “Ribemont sur Ancre: Etudes,” Revue du Nord 52 (1970) 469-511PI; id., “Le sanctuaire gallo-romain de Ribemont sur Ancre (Somme),” Bull. Soc. des Antiquaires de Picardie (1971) 43-70; id., “Les premières campagnes de fouilles sur le théâtre gallo-romain de Ribemont sur Ancre,” ibid. (1972) 448-72; C. Pietri, Gallia 29 (1971) 231-32I.


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