Not the Gallo-Roman Camp   1 comment

Compass. Notebook. Water. Map. Have I forgotten anything? Ah yes – a good supply of skeptical optimism. Especially where those maps are concerned. I have just two 1967 vintage IGN local maps, the rest are the new GPS Bleu type, and as my hunt for the Bel Soleil dolmens revealed – they are clearer but cruder than the older ones, with menhirs and dolmens missing all over the place. This saturday I was using the new version

It has the Centeilles Chap. and the Chap. rnee and the Anc. camp gallo-romain, and in the NE corner Pic St-Martin. Whereas the 1967 map looks like this:

The Anc. Camp Gallo-Romain is now somewhere on Pic St-Martin. During the forty intervening years has it slipped a kilometer south from its commanding position on an unassailable rock-crest, to a wooded plateau?

Or is it some other fortification? The walls are broken and intermittent – but convincingly massive :

There are parapets evident in this and the photo below –

I followed the wall all the way round – the enclosed space was about an hectare – and it certainly seemed a defensive location with a drop on the east, south and west sides. But there were no internal walls or structures, no vestiges of towers or gates. I was optimistically skeptical – until I got home and compared the maps. And when we explored the site on Pic St-Martin the following day, I was no longer even optimistic. There is only one Iron Age hillfort – in use for a thousand years from the 5th. century BC to the 5th. AD – and it is not here. This might be a defensive enclosure – but at most for guarding cattle and other goods: a Visigoth compound or depot perhaps. I need a local historian. And a full set of those older maps.

Posted April 14, 2008 by Richard Williams

One response to “Not the Gallo-Roman Camp

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  1. Our Via Aquitana lot would love to visit this site and hunt for the mysterious moving Roman camp!
    http://viaaquitana.blog4ever.com

    Have I your permission to reproduce your article on my site?

    best Val

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