lunes, 2 de junio de 2014

A large Roman sanctuary found in northern France (France)

A unique Roman sanctuary is currently being excavated at Pont-Sainte-Maxence (Oise) in northern France.The large shrine dating to the middle of the 2nd century AD was discovered during excavations prior to the building of a shopping centre. Archaeologists say the discovery was totally unexpected and has no equivalent in Roman Gaul.
The sanctuary building measures 70 m x 105 m and has two small pavilions to the rear, of which only the foundations are preserved. The Cella (inner chamber of the temple), where the statue of a deity would once have stood  was accessed by a staircase to the front.

Monumental façade

The entrance to the sanctuary consisted of a monumental façade more than 10 m high and 70 m long, exceptional dimensions for Roman Gaul. This façade has a series of 13-17 arches, surmounted by an entablature with a frieze of Attica. However, a few decades after its erection, the façade evidently collapsed, perhaps due to foundation problems. This has left a tumble of thousands of stone blocks and fragments which the archaeologists are trying to make sense of.
Ornate frieze
The ornate frieze of gods from the Greco-Roman Pantheon is made up of heads (3 times life-size) whose eyes were originally inlaid with coloured stones. The heads alternate with sitting griffins with outstretched wings. The work is of a very high technical level and is very close in style to the temple of Champlieu (Oise).

Source: Past Horizons:

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