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Archaeological digs

Sixteenth century

Rediscovery

Lost in time, it is only during the XVI century that Gabriel Siméoni, the erudite Florentine commissioned to chart a map of Auvergne, discovered the Gergovia site. To do this, he relied on the toponym of a site on the eastern slope of the plateau: Gergovia. In 1560, his map appears locating Gergovia on the plateau.

1862

An emperor in the footsteps of Caesar

The first concerted excavations on the site in search of Caesar’s military bases date back to the reign of Napoleon III.

In anticipation of the arrival of the Emperor, the agent Aucler conducted preliminary excavations and discovered the “villa” that bears his name.

Next, Eugène Stoffel carried out excavations under the orders of Napoleon III. His notable finds include two Roman encampments at the foot of the Gergovia Plateau and remains of the Gaul fortified town. At this time, Merdogne village becomes the village of Gergovia.

This also marks the reframing of Gergovia as an emblem of national history, which leads to the erection of a monument in 1900 in honour of Vercingetorix, the plateau’s current symbol.

1930 - 1940

New, extensive excavations

50 years after the imperial digs were completed , further discoveries were made during the 1930s and 1940s including pits, cisterns, an artisanal quarter, a door in the western rampart, a villa, as well as a sanctuary that was in use long after the oppidum was abandoned.

1995 - 2010

Recent excavations

Findings made during the XIX century have since been substantiated by research carried out on the Caesar encampments at the foot of the Gergovia ramparts that clearly date back to the Roman conquest.

An examination of these findings unequivocally confirms the location of the battle site.

At the same time, the sanctuary was closely studied in order to better understand the timing of the way this place of worship was used at different stages, from the first structures dating back to the I century B.C. up to the Gallo-Roman temple built in the III century B.C.

Last excavations

Studies focused on the section between the south door of the oppidum and the great central paved area made it possible to pinpoint the expansion and date of urban monumental structures, as well as provide better information on the development of the Arverni settlement during the I century B.C.

To find out more about recent excavations, please visit: Association du Site de Gergovie website.