Friday, 1 October 2010

Chassenon

My friends from Ireland (D and D) also visited the the Gallo Roman remains at Chassenon. The ancient name of this village was Cassinomagus.

Situated on the Agrippan Way (Lyon – Saintes), Cassinomagus was, in Roman times, important enough to be mentioned on the medieval Peutinger map as one of the two secondary towns between Limoges and Saintes (probably 80 miles apart). The remains of this Gallo-Roman town lay on about 300 hectares and include a sanctuary of about 25 hectares. This sanctuary consisted of several monuments: a big temple, two small ones, a theatre (amphitheatre?), and thermal baths. The baths, which are very well preserved, can be visited. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chassenon

The well-signposted route des Lemovices - a road used by the Romans to carry wine and salt from the Atlantic coast as far as Rome - is an ideal thread to follow, if you want to discover the region's past. Cutting across countryside dotted with the stony tussocks of crumbled bridges, this ancient highway was an important economic axis during the second Century. How are the mighty fallen! These days, the well preserved theatre and Roman baths at Chassenon are all that remain of the large and prosperous Empire, which once lorded it over this area.

The Thermes de Chassenon is the site of Gallo-Roman remains including a forum, theatre and thermal baths. Many mosaics have been excavated and preserved and the site is thought to have been both a religious and curative centre.  It was only discovered in 1958.

These are photos that I took in 2007, and a few more in 2009. D and D said that there are still more and more new areas being opened up, and the site gets bigger by the day. I was of course painting gates, so missed the visit this year but I must return within the next couple of years and update the 'photo album'.








The site staff offer multi-lingual guided tours and Cassinomagus is open all year.  The French government, to their great credit, are putting a lot of effort (and Euro, presumably!) into these wonderfully preserved remains and it is well worth a visit. There are still massive archaeological investigations going on  and in my opinion as a native of Bath, the famous Roman spa town in England, this is, in its own way, every bit as good.

36 comments:

  1. Very interesting. You got a lot of good photos! That;s nice the put such an effort to prserve it.

    P.S. The green flash is the last spark or flash of light of the sun as it slips beneath the water at sunset. The conditions have to be just right for it. I think it only happens over water.

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  2. These sites really intrigue us on our travels - to be standing where there was ancient Roman civilisations is a thrill.
    Buy as Monty Python once said, "what have the Romans done for us?"
    Leon

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  3. Love the stone work. I saw my first, and only, Roman ruins in Frankfurt. Interesting post. Too bad you had to stay home and paint the gate.

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  4. And some people think I live in heaven. Oh no, you do! I am so envious! Thanks for finding me.

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  5. Sounds like a wonderful place to visit - of course we don't have anything like it here in Africa !

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  6. Wow, it must be so eerie walking amongst these ancient ruins, wondering about the builders and the people who lived there - thanks for the tour ...

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  7. Lyndsey it is an interesting site. Thanks for explaining the green flash. Not much water around here so I will have to wait until we are near the sea! Diane

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  8. Yea you are right Leon, what have the Romans done for us. Left us with a lot of interesting remains and some history. These old sites are very interesting though. Diane

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  9. Gaelyn I was also sorry that I was painting and could not go. I will be back there soon though and see what else is 'new'. Diane

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  10. All our fingers in the Pie, this is certainly like my little heaven to me:-) Thanks for the visit. Diane

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  11. Lynda it is a wonderful place to visit and it just steeped in history. You are right, no places like that in Africa but you have interesting places like the Zimbabwe ruins. It would be nice to find out more answers there. Diane

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  12. Graham it is not that eerie but incredibly interesting to see how they lived in those bygone days. These ruins were only discovered in 1958 so the amount of work that has been done is massive. Watching the students who have done a lot of the work, under supervision, slowly scratching away the soil with a small trowel and then you realise how slow the work is. Diane

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  13. Wonderful place! Great post, Diane.

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  14. It all looks so well preserved and, if we're ever up that way, we'd certainly like to visit.

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  15. Jan it is certainly worth viewing if you come this way. It is quite exceptional. It is not far from us so perhaps you could combine a visit? Diane

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  16. Thanks for sharing Diane, somewhere else to add to our ever growing list of places we would like to visit.

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  17. That the Romans figured out how to make and use cement and concrete well enough that their structures still stand today is astonishing, isn't it? Sorry you missed this trip, but getting the gate finished before bad weather sets in was of the utmost importance!

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  18. Lindy it would be good if you came to France to see Chassenon, also a chance for you to come and visit us! Diane

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  19. Marjie as an engineer you would really appreciate this place. The complex drainage etc running through the buildings is more that amazing. As you say the fact that the buildings are still standing in such good condition, despite being buried for 100's of years, is a wonder on its own. Diane

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  20. Well you never know Diane! I suppose you are now getting ready for your imminent return to the Uk for the winter.

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  21. From a Latin course I took a couple of years back we learned that there are numberous Roman sites throughout Europe. Many of which are in use as theaters today. I was surprised at the number, and as your post points out, they are still being escavated. Love this connection to history.

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  22. Mya the Romans were a very interesting people and some of their buildings are exceptional. Diane

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  23. Wow. It's amazing that they are still standing and in such great condition. Thanks for sharing these cool photos.

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  24. Nice! I'm so interested to visit this place! Have a great week1

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  25. Pam it is hard to believe that they are in such fantastic condition after being buried for so many years. Diane

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  26. Lani if you are over this way they are certainly worth visiting. Diane

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  27. Sorry Diane, at least you will be able to listen to my Sunday Songs over the winter.

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  28. You are right Lindy, or I hope so. Nigel is have trouble in the UK with the main computer so I hope I can get it sorted out when I am there! Diane

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  29. The Roman daily life was very interesting!
    We also have ruins close by, the remains of largest gallo-roman villa in France, and they new how to recreate artificially seawater to keep oysters!
    quite incredible!
    Thanks for the tour, I notice the great restoration job done in Chassenon!
    Have a lovely day!
    Cheers, Diane!
    Noushka

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  30. Hi Noushka. Wish I could create sea water to keep oysters, I would take a car load back to the UK where they are too expensive to eat!! Have a good week. Diane

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  31. I have always been very interested in archeology. There are just so many spots all over the world that I would love to be able to visit to see things like this.

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  32. Firefly this is one of the most interesting sites I have seen. The fact that it is getting bigger by the day makes return visits interesting as well. It is not just a one off. Diane

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