Thursday 11 April 2019

Archaeological Diagnostics

We travel up and down the D31 between Loches and Bléré a lot. It's our route to Amboise or Chenonceau. For much of last year we spent the bit between the A85 intersection and the D976 intersection trying to work out what the heck was going on in two fields near the light industrial zone Sublaines Bois Gaulpied.

Neat regular shallow excavations and pyramidal piles of dirt started appearing on the arable farming plain known as the Champeigne Tourangelle. As time went on more and more rows of these excavations and piles were created, but we never saw anyone working on the site. All sorts of explanations crossed our mind -- the farmer was installing drainage, or irrigation, or improving the soil maybe. Finally, we found out what was really going on, but unfortunately the interesting earthworks have been smoothed over before we got round to stopping to photograph them.

Photographed by Susan from Loire Valley Time Travel.
I know this just looks like a slightly curious stripey field, but trust me, interesting stuff is afoot.

The Département (County) and the Communauté des communes (group of adjoining municipalities) Bléré-Val de Cher has plans to extend the industrial zone, so has been conducting archaeological diagnostic tests. Rather than requiring the private development company to do the preliminary archaeological investigations on the site, the local authorities are undertaking the work themselves, in a public-private development deal.

Photographed by Susan from Loire Valley Time Travel.

The reason the archaeology is important is because during previous construction of the motorway and the existing industrial zone significant archaeological remains were found, including a Merovingian community and cemetery and Prehistoric artefacts. (Further reading: our blog post about another Merovingian cemetery.)

A second phase of digs is scheduled to start by July 2019.


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