History of Ucetia
The aqueduct at the Fontaine d'Eure in Uzès
The aqueduct on top Floor of the Pont du Gard.
Castellum divisorium in Nimes, where the water was arriving and used to distribute water throughout the city.
Map of excavations on Mach 2017 : Area 3 and 4 were not excavated yet. Same map in July 2017 : few transparency has become no transparency.
Map of Uzès before its fortification were demolished. The oppidum can be seen in the north of the town.
Map from XVIIth century : the enclosure of the monastery.
Until now, Uzès was renowned for its various monuments from the middle ages to the Renaissance.
Concerning the Roman era, Uzès was only known for being the place where starts the roman aqueduct (of 31 miles) linking the city to Nimes.
Uzès was providing Nimes (Nemausus) in fresh water.
This aqueduct is famous for the part where it crosses the river: the Pont du Gard (7 miles from Uzès), a world heritage site.
The aqueduct at the Fontaine d'Eure in Uzès was excavated only 20 years ago.
For a long time, Uzès has been regarded as a small Gallo-Roman oppidum, providing Nimes with water.
Indeed, during ancient history, Uzès was sometimes called "Castrum Ucetia."
A castrum was a fortified military camp.
It is possible that, following the Roman invasion of south of Gaul (around 120 BC), and during the Cimbric war (113-101 BC), this oppidum was used as a stronghold by the Romans.
Some historians noticed that castra often turned to villages, then to cities. Moreover, some of those cities kept their name of origin (castrum).
That may explain the Emperor Honorius (384-423) gave to "Castrum Ucetia" the status of a diocese, so the rank of a large political district leaded by a bishop.
Such a thing would not have been possible if Castrum Ucetia was only a Roman camp.
Some discoveries in Uzès until now: many cippus were excavated and, in the 18th century, a Roman mosaic was found (now lost).
One discovery was very disturbing: a kind of milestone from the 1st century BC, found in Nimes around 1760.
Many names of places are engraved on this marble stone. Two of them are written with larger letters: UGERNI (for Ugernum, now Beaucaire, an influent roman town) and UCETIAE.
In conclusion, many clues but no evidence: Ucetia was a kind of lost Roman city.
Recently, a project to build of a dormitory and a refectory were planned in a 6000 square meters area belonging to the garden of former gendarmerie barracks.
This area was in the past the garden of a monastery founded in the 6th century AD by a bishop named Ferréol.
This area is located in the north of Uzès, in the highest part of the city.
Two campaigns of excavation took place: from 2013 to 2017.
They revealed on the whole 6000 square meters the centre of a Roman city dating from the first quarter of the 1st century BC .
In the south-west, a 500 square meters building is found maybe from 1st century AD.
In this area, a hypocaust and a mosaic depicting four dolphins are escavated .
The second building has got 4 large areas. In one of them are found astonishing mosaics from the first part of 1st century BC.
The entire site is rich of fountains, wells and artifacts.
At least 5 roman roads estimated to be from the beginning of the 1st century BC were excavated as well as many artifacts.
One of this road goes from east to west and crosses all the site. It may be the Decumanus Maximus.
Near this road and inside the large room where main mosaics has been discovered, a smaller but very unusual mosaic has been excavated.
This mosaic may indicate the centre of the town (Templum).
When Romans settled camps or towns, they used to draw two paths: a north to south path (Cardo Maximus), crossing a east to west path (decumanus Maximus).
This mosaic may figures two lines.
Indeed, the horizontal line is paralleled to the east-west Roman road (Decumanus).
Furthermore, a name is written in Greek on a mosaic and stand for Lucius Cornelius. It may refer to the owner.
It is not impossible this name is related to Lucius Cornelius (cognomen : Sulla/Sylla).
Lucius Cornelius Sylla was a former general, Roman Consul which became the leader of Rome.
He stayed at least 3 years in the south of Gaul during the Cimbric war (113-101 BC) moving from place to place.
Excepted (maybe) the mosaic with dolphins all the mosaics showed on this page and on the website has been discovered in 2013.
It is proven : (RD) 30.UZE.ray.14
These discoveries were only revealed in end of March 2017 and immediately removed despite a large disagreement.
A theft ? The work of a subcontractor ? Both ?
It is essential this site to be preserved, to promote it and list it quickly as it deserves.
Those mosaics have to be put back on the place they belong since 2 thousands years.
We need foreign specialists skilled in preservation in situ of mediterranean mosaics, because these ones has been highly damaged.
This tour de force is probably possible.
It is very difficult to get data about what has been found in the site of Ucetia.
This plan below is from March 2017, we don’t know what has been found in area 3 and 4.
There is no information about the excavations (that ends in august 2017) since the birth of a movement to prevent the remove of the mosaics and the guarantee of the preservation of Ucetia.
The fate of Ucetia will be determined soon (july-august) and everyone can help to put a light on what has been discovered in order to stop the building programme.
Ucetia is a worldwide heritage site and everybody in the world has the right, individuals or institutions, to defend it from a planned destruction.
This archeological site has to be protected and the building should become of museum for the artefacts discovered there.
It is possible to sign a petition (there) but the most important thing is a global awareness on this issue, including to the most influent people or institutions able to invert the curse of events.
First step : help us to improve this translation in a perfect english !
This should belong to past.
And this is supposed to be a mosaic from 50 BC...