(Vertault) Côte-d'Or, France.
Located 20 km NW of Châtillon-sur-Seine, the Gallo-Roman town of Vertillum is situated on a spur of a
plateau on the site of a Celtic oppidum of promontory
fort type. The Gallo-Roman built-up area covers about
25 ha and has been known since 1651. Excavations were
conducted from 1846 to 1853 and from 1882 to 1940.
The spur on which the town stood is enclosed by a
wall of murus gallicus type with wooden posts. It merely
served to hold back earth and to set the boundaries of
the city established after the conquest. The town was
oblong in shape and was built according to an irregular
plan. Several districts were separated by paved streets
whose width varied from 3 to 8 m. The main artery,
350 m long, was orientated NW-SE. The forum was
located approximately in the middle of the city. It was
bordered to the E by a series of shops, to the N by a
portico, and to the S by another portico and a temple.
It had an area of more than 1 ha, out of proportion
with the size of the town.
The density of the built-up areas is extremely variable.
To the W, near the end of the spur, dwellings are spaced
out and one finds numerous remains of the workshops of
smelters and bronze-workers. Cellars are very well built
with carefully pointed walls. They may have been used
as winter quarters since the climate in this region is
harsh. Heating was particularly well worked out. There
are many fireplaces with round hearths as well as hypocausts with small pillars.
The baths occupied more than 600 m sq. and represent
the most notable and complete building on the site.
However, we have yet to solve the problem of their
water supply, which is posed by the baths' location on
a spur with no known water sources. Many pits, 3
to 8 m deep, have been excavated, but they were rubbish pits, meant to receive sewage and garbage.
A building located at the very center of the town
may be considered a temple. It was a parallelogram in
shape. Its S facade was fronted by a colonnade. Several
hemicycles or apses were set up at the back of the building.
The systematic exploration of the site has produced
a considerable number of various artifacts, statues, inscriptions (the most important of which gives the name of the site), tools, instruments. As far as the pottery is concerned, one should note the relative abundance of
products of the Arezzo workshops. This attests to the
prosperity of this settlement from the start of the 1st c. A.D. on.
The town underwent two destructions. The first can
be dated to about 276, at the time of the great invasion.
It was rebuilt and survived until the beginning of the
5th c. The most recent coins collected were of Honorius
(395-423). Then the ruined town was completely abandoned and the modern village of Vertault was set up
at the foot of the promontory. At present, no ancient
remains can be seen on the site, since the excavations
were filled in as they proceeded.
The artifacts collected before 1882 are to be found in
the Musée Archéologique at Dijon. Those found in
later investigations are in the Musée Municipal at Châtillon-sur-Seine.
Mignard & Coutant, Fouilles de Landunum près de Vertault
(Côte d'Or), Mém. de la Comm.
des Ant. de la Côte d'Or (1856) IV; H. Lorimy, “Vertillum—Vicus Vertillensis,” Pro Nervia
3 (1927); id., “Inscriptions céramiques gallo-romaines conservées au Musée de Châtillon-sur-Seine,” Bull. Arch
. (1926); R. Joffroy & R. Paris, “La Verre à Vertillum,” Bull. de la
Soc. Arch. du Châtillonnais
3 (1950-51); Joffroy, “Catalogue des lampes recueilles à Vertillum,” Bull. de la Soc.
Arch. du Châtillonnais