5.4 Additional survey

5.4.1 Poil, Les Bas de Fontaux (Le Carzot) (Figure 9)

Area 3

As indicated, an additional survey was undertaken in 2002 in the commune of Poil in the hills to the south of Mont Beuvray. The site consists of quadrangular ditched enclosures originally discovered by René Goguey at Les Bas de Fontaux when the fields were under arable (Goguey 1996, 127-30); they are now under pasture. The site is also often referred to as Le Carzot, after the nearby farmstead. It lies on the granite formations on the south-eastern edge of the Morvan.

The site is part of a larger complex: trial excavations in 1984-5 a few hundred metres to the east at Le Quart du Bois uncovered remains of Gallo-Roman buildings, including baths, close to a spring, spread out over a considerable area (Niaux 1985; 1986). The associated material spans the period from the 1st century BC to the end of the 1st century AD, including at least a hundred Dressel 1 amphorae (Olmer 1997). The bulk of the material centres on the Augustan period (Barral and Joly 2002, 249), but certain fine and coarsewares may be of Late La Tène date, as indeed may the amphorae. A molehill survey and other work is currently being undertaken by the CAE with the aim of further characterising the nature and extent of the complex at Poil (Haupt et al. 2007).

At Les Bas de Fontaux, the air photographs show two substantial rectilinear ditched enclosures, with sides of c. 30 and 35m respectively, on a low hill north-west of the modern farm, as well as other less clear features. Each of these enclosures lie on slightly flattened areas, just off the summit of the hill. A third enclosure lies to the east of the farm. On account of their size, these enclosures are perhaps more likely to belong to a cult site than to be funerary (Goguey 1996, 129-30). The location provides a spectacular view towards Mont Beuvray.

Figure 77

Figure 77: View of Mont Beuvray from the enclosures at Les Bas de Fontaux/Le Carzot

The aim of our work was primarily to determine how well low-resolution geophysical survey of the kind we were undertaking in the Arroux valley was able to detect ditched enclosures of La Tène and Gallo-Roman type, as well as contributing to characterisation of the site. Both gradiometry and resistivity surveys were undertaken, as well as a topographic survey. During the work, a few pieces of tegula were recovered from the surface. In places the granite bedrock was virtually uncovered.

Both enclosure ditches were successfully detected using low-resolution gradiometry, but high-resolution survey was required to obtain clear images. Both the enclosures were also successfully detected by resistivity survey, although this latter work was impeded by the proximity of the bedrock to the surface, which made progress very slow. As well as clearly showing the two square enclosures, both the high-resolution gradiometry survey and the resistivity survey revealed a number of other anomalies that are likely to be archaeological but defy specific interpretation.

The work at Poil shows that it should be possible to locate ditched enclosures belonging to late Iron Age or Gallo-Roman farmsteads or field systems using magnetometry survey on the local geology. For good results, however, high-resolution survey is clearly essential, limiting the amount of ground that can be covered.

The pottery from Le Carzot (UF 79)

No. of sherds: 6; weight: 44g
Three sherds of Dressel 1 amphora and three coarseware sherds (two Gallo-Roman and one probably early medieval) were collected from the hollow way running past the farm and along the northern edge of Le Carzot.

Les Bas de Fontaux/Le Carzot
Gradiometry survey: 0.5m x 0.25m (1.89 ha)
Gradiometry survey: 1.0m x 0.5m (0.18 ha)
Resistivity survey: 1.0 x 1.0m (0.99 ha)
Topographic survey
Fig. 74 Gradiometry results
Fig. 75 Resistivity results
Fig. 76 Interpretation & topography
Stray finds north of Le Carzot79Dressel 1 amphora sherds; no other diagnostic ceramic forms


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Last updated: Wed Oct 29 2008