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Saturday 24 September 2022
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Roman-era ‘mini Pompeii’ discovered on banks of Rhône

A ‘mini Pompeii’ archaeological site has been discovered in Sainte-Colombe in the Rhône, near Vienne, France.

Roman-era mosaics and even evidence of entire homes have been found in an “excellent state of conservation”, despite the area apparently being originally abandoned due to two fires, in the second and third centuries AD.

“We [have really found] a little Viennese Pompeii,” explained the scientist in charge of the work, Benjamin Clément, to French news site France TV Info. “It was a marketplace that appears to have been totally burned down. We have found artisan artefacts, which appear to have been left on-site as shopkeepers escaped the flames. The other elements, are the ‘domus’ - extremely well-preserved aristocratic houses - including 19 mosaics, which will allow us to understand more about life in Vienne 2 000 years ago.”

The 5 000 m² site was found during a routine land inspection ahead of the planned construction of residential houses, and had previously be thought to be an undeveloped industrial wasteland.

The findings have now been taken to the Saint-Romain-en-Gal museum, and belong to the State. Although nothing has been confirmed yet, it’s likely that there will be an exhibition of the pieces after their restoration is completed.

The original Pompeii is found in Italy, near the city of Naples, and features an exceptionally well-preserved Roman-era town that was destroyed by an eruption of nearby volcano Vesuvius. As well as preserved human forms, the town also showcases Roman-era graffiti, mosaics, painted walls and many other contemporary objects and spaces. 

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