A Paleo-Christian church

In the early 5th century, a Christian place of worship was built some 800 metres north of the villa. The site chosen was close to a possible catchment area of the estate's aqueduct, and a construction fitted with a vaulted collection area associated with water.

The church took the form of a single space, 35 metres long and 9.5 metres wide. To the east, it ended in a non-protruding apse within a flat chevet. One entered from the western façade into a solidly-built nave measuring more than 250 sq. m, devoid of both supporting walls and colonnade. The floor may have been covered with paving-stones or consisted of beaten earth, and the walls were covered in a painted coating. A triumphal archway marks the entrance to the chevet, whose floor was originally raised.

Five additional rooms abutted the gutter-bearing north wall, organised around a 5-metre-square baptistery. In the centre stood a hexagonally-shaped tank with semi-circular indents on each of its faces. It was large enough to accommodate adult baptisms, in line with Paleo-Christian practices. The ensemble, which was constructed all at once, was completed by a small bathing establishment, some 50 metres square, which abutted the north wall of the baptistery and which no doubt was used for preparing catechumens.

A few graves near the chevet and the presence of an inhabited zone provide evidence of the creation of a new estate-related population hub, which remained active up to the early feudal period.

Medias

Interactive document - Basilica and outbuildings from Late Antiquity

Basilica and outbuildings from Late Antiquity

On this map of the excavated areas, the paleo-Christian buildings are indicated in red.
© Ch. Pellecuer et J.-M. Pène, MCC-DRAC Languedoc-Roussillon
Interactive document - The basilica, a public monument in a rural setting

The basilica, a public monument in a rural setting


© R. Bourgaut, CCNBT