(“Tamnum”) Charente Maritime, France.
In the place known as Le Fâ, ca. 1000 m from
the present-day N bank of the Gironde, there is a Gallo-Roman sanctuary consisting of a temple, a theater, baths,
and a silted-up waterfront, the whole covering some 30
ha. The site has been identified with the ancient Tamnum
mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary
and the Peutinger
, but this identification is still contested. The importance of the site is due above all to its position. It was the
S port of the civitas of the Santones, a stage along
the commercial route from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic by way of the Gironde, and a way-station in the
coastal trade well served by its partly artificial little port.
it was also a rural sanctuary for the people of the surrounding area. its remains attest its prosperity from the
1st to the 3d c. A.D. By the time of its destruction (end
of 3d c. ?) a small urban settlement had developed
around the port, in the area now occupied by the La
Fosse Perat marsh.
The temple: the podium is a massive circular construction 36 m in diameter and 3 m high, with three steps at
the base. it is faced with small blocks. On the E side is
a rectangular projection 16 m wide, the remains of the
steps leading to the entrance and the vestibule, which
opened behind six columns or pillars. The circular outside
wall, with the steps at its base, carried a stylobate made
of large slabs. it is connected by radiating walls to the
wide foundation of the cella, which has an exterior diameter of 21 m, and 15.4 m on the interior. The wall of the
cella was ornamented inside and outside by 14 Corinthian half-columns or pilasters, the stylobates of which
have been found. The 4.5 m ambulatory surrounding the
cella was covered with gray cement, and the cella was
paved with green and pink marble. An underground room
lay under the pavement in the W part of the cella. The
whole building lay within a rectangular peribolos composed of two parallel walls.
A forum probably existed in the axis of the temple, as
at Vandeuvre or Sanxay. The forum proper must have begun outside the wall of the peribolos, 40 m from the entrance to the sanctuary. A base has been found there inscribed C. CAECILIVS / GALERIA / CIVILIS MART.
Some 60 m SE of the temple are the partially excavated
baths. A large caldarium (15 x 10 m) and a square room
above a hypocaust (laconicum?) flanked by two small
rooms with paved tubs (frigidaria?) have been identified.
Some of the supports of the hypocaust are in the form
of open pyramids (cf. St. Bertrand de Comminges). A
gutter runs E of the building.
Remains of a theater have been found 800 m E of the
temple. Soundings have reached the base of the tiers and
the stage wall. The large size of the orchestra is comparable with that at Sanxay.
An aqueduct, running E-W 300 m from the village of
Barzan, consists of a vaulted gallery 2 m high and 2 m
wide, with a 50 cm walkway on either side. it has a circular opening about every 30 m.
A. Planchet et al., Le Fâ de Talmont,
port gallo-romain de Saintonge
(1944); L. Basalo, “Le
temple du moulin du Fâ à Barzan, près Talmont,” Gallia
3 (1944) 141-65; F. Eygun, Gallia
15 (1957) 211-13; 21
(1963) 439; 23 (1965) 355; 25 (1967) 246.