During preventive excavations carried out prior to the construction of new structures in the town of Uzès, in the Gard, archaeologists discovered a large and remarkable mosaic from the Roman era. Barely discovered, it is already threatened.
Uzès, in the Gard, is the ancient ancient city of Ucétia. As in many cities in the Occitanie region, preventive excavations are mandatory before each major development project. Excavations have therefore recently taken place on the site of a former police station in Uzès, where a boarding school and a canteen are to be set up for two nearby high schools.
However, during these excavations, archaeologists from Inrap (the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research) unearthed entire quarters from the Roman era (about 4,000 m²) and a mosaic remarkable for its size, 60 m², its time and its state of conservation as announced by the Institute in a press release.
» It was a real surprise. We know of only one mosaic of this magnitude in the South », Comments Philippe Cayn, the archaeologist in charge of the excavations. This mosaic could have been made between 50 and 0 BC. J.-C. and reveals in particular many geometric patterns as well as a central medallion surrounded by animals: an owl, a deer, a duck and an eagle. » We suspected that Uzès had a Roman origin, but we didn’t know much about it. Until now, there had been some discoveries of mosaic fragments, but very old and isolated. When we arrived, we had absolutely no idea what we were going to discover there. », continues the archaeologist.
The problem is that this barely discovered treasure is already threatened with relocation. » This Roman district is located in the heart of an architectural project and an urban building constrained with rules of safety and accessibility, in particular for the firefighters who make it impossible to maintain and preserve these vestiges in situ. “, explains Carole Delga, president of the Occitanie region which has invested 12 million euros in the construction of the boarding school and the canteen, specifying that she “ would make every effort to preserve and enhance this heritage by devoting a place dedicated to it in Uzès. I ask, in consultation with the City of Uzès, that these mosaics be saved and accessible to all « .
This decision provokes the anger of the associations, grouped around the Prima Vera association, to demand that the Roman mosaic be kept on its original site.