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12 March 2014 : Meeting on the site
A meeting on the site of the fountain of Loulié took place on 12th March between the SGMSU, the archeologist Jean-Pierre Girault, the representative of the Drac and the Association. The purpose was to take stock, as well as look at potential direction and works.
6th December 2013 : An archeological review of the siege of Uxellodunum
Presentation and conference at the Museum of Saint Raymond in Toulouse
© Puy-d’Issolud, former Uxellodunum, excavations of 1921 Photo : J.-P. Girault
The archaeologist Jean-Pierre Girault presented his latest book in the presence of Vincent Guichard, Director General of EPCC Bibracte, its editor.
This was followed by a conference on the archeologie of the Gallic wars by Michel Reddé, specialist in Roman armies and director of studies at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes.
Eagerly awaited by the scientific community, this publication takes stock of the knowledge collected to date on an archaeological site closely linked to Caesar's Gallic Wars, Puy d'Issolud located in the north of Lot, in the communes of Vayrac and Saint-Denis-lès-Martel.
According to Caesar's text, Uxellodunum was the site of the last battle between troops led by Luctérios, an aristocratic Cadurcian and by Drappes of Sens, against the legions of Julius Caesar. Aulus Hirtius, Caesar's lieutenant, describes the conduct of the siege and the defeat of the Gauls in the summer of 51 BC after a few weeks of fierce fighting.
The identification of the site of Puy-d'Issolud as the ancient Uxellodunum, although clearly determined by Jean-Baptiste Cessac, a magistrate of Gourdon, then by scholars sought in the 1860s by Napoleon III, has nevertheless continued to be debated throughout the twentieth century.
On the initiative of Michel Vidal, then head of the regional department of Archaeology Drac Midi-Pyrénées, Jean-Pierre Girault, a tireless volunteer archaeologist, was persuaded in 1997 to resume research at the site of the fountain of Loulié identified in 1867 by Cessac as the exact location of the battle. One of the first goals was to stop the looting, known to have taken place since the nineteenth century, of Roman armaments on the site.
Supported for more than 10 years by the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs, Mr. Girault first gathered existing literature, hunted through archival sources from the Middle Ages and a comprehensive inventory of the discoveries made since the eighteenth century. He then gathered together a team and resumed the search on the site. During a series of annual campaigns, including topographical and geological studies, surveys and excavations, a huge stock of knowledge has been created. The accummulation of all the sources of information confirm that an important battle took place in the mid first century BC which brought together the Roman and Gallic troops around the fountain. Roman weapons discovered there since the 19th century greatly exceeds the number found on any other battle sites of the Gallic Wars (Alesia Gergovie, etc.), and the presence of tunnels at the base of the fountain confirms the capture of the source by Caesar's troops, as described by the ancient text.
There is no longer any doubt; scientific experts monitoring the work of M. Girault, including the top specialists of this period, unanimously back its conclusion: The fountain of Loulié is the Uxellodunum of Caesar's text.
For practical information on the book: see Publications
17th May 2013 at Carennac : Presentation ceremony
Jean-Pierre Girault, Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres
Roger Mialet. Président of the Association des Amis d'Uxellodunum au Puy d'Issolud
Jean Launay. Deputy in the National Assembly, mayor of Bretenoux
Jean-Claude Requier. Senator and mayor of Martel
Laurent Séveignes. Representative of the Service Régional de l'Archéologie (Michel Vaginay unable to attend)
Vincent Guichard. Director of the Centre Archéologique Européen of Mont Beuvray
Evelyne Ugaglia. Curator of the St Raymond museum of Toulouse
Jean-Pierre Girault. Archeologist, recipient of the honour
The Amis in 2012
Chainsaw wood sculpture - 3 day event - 12th to 14th July 2012
Organised by the Association les Amis d'Uxellodunum - Puy d'Issolud.
The aim of the event was to bring together a group of sculptors and artists who create large scale art and sculptures with the skilful use of chainsaws, and to task them with producing carvings from tree trunks, with the battle of Uxellodunum as the theme.
The Amis welcomed nine sculptors who worked for three days to produce amazing works of art on the theme of Uxellodunum and the last battle between the Gauls and the Romans. The sculptors were Jean Dayes, Marceau Bourdarias, Julien Coirier, Maxence Terrier, Sébastien Feuillade, Yohan Amadieu, Benoit Lanchais, François Boutot et Nicolas Mialet.
The Amis in 2011
A number of volunteers within the Association undertook the strimming and tidying of the site on Friday 15th, Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th July 2011.
The site is currently closed to the public.
The Association is co-financing the forthcoming publication of the book on the Late Bronze Age and First Iron Age by Jean-Pierre Girault and Jean Gasco.
Annual General Meeting 2011
The AGM took place on Saturday 21st May 2011 at 18:00.
MIALET Roger : President
LASCAUX Dominique : Secretary
BIZOT Monique : Deputy Secretary
COURET Monique : Treasurer
BERTRAND Didier : Deputy Treasurer
LACHIEZE Jean-Claude : Vice President
IRELAND Merrick : Vice President
PRANGERE Pierre : Vice President
MISSOTY Christian : Vice President
The Amis in 2010
Photos Jean-Pierre Girault. Left to right : Tunnel before protection, Protection of the artificial tunnels, Finishing the tunnel entrances, Remodelling of the site.
Works at the Fontaine de Loulié... Following the land acquisition by the Syndicat Mixte de Gestion du Site d'Uxellodunum (S.M.G.S.U.), the work to protect the tunnels and to carry out the restoration of the site took place during summer and autumn 2010. Under the control of S.M.G.S.U. and its Président, Hugues Du Pradel, the works, financed under the framework of the Pôles d'Excellence Ruraux with the participation of the State, the Region, the Department and the different communes concerned, have allowed the protection of the old tunnels, at the same time preventing further deterioration and giving the site a new look, close to its original form.
The Association des Amis d'Uxellodunum has been active alongside Jean-Pierre Girault in close partnership with the S.M.G.S.U. in order to find a consensus relating to the various technical solutions required.
Restoration of the site is the first stage in its development as a major part of the local heritage.
Processing the spoil... In parallel with these works the Association carried out the mammoth task of searching the spoil for objects of interest before the soil was used for landscaping the site. The process, authorised by the D.R.A.C. (Direction Régional des Affaires Culturelles), took place on 20 separate days between June and October, under the direction of the head of archeological excavation, Jean-Pierre Girault. Finds included : three javelin tips, 133 arrowheads, four iron catapult bolts, one Roman coin of the final period of the Roman Empire and 37 nails from the soles of Roman sandals as well as many river pebbles used as ammunition for slings, shards of pottery and fragments of amphorae.
Grassing of the site ... The work to seed the site was carried out with the help of the Amis in November 2010.
Photos J.P. Girault. Left to right : Examples of armaments found in the spoil, Grassing the site
Other activities of the Association in 2010
9th and 10th April 2010 : preparation for archeological explorations of aqueduct on the plateau... In April the Association carried out strimming and other preparation work following earlier trial holes. The Association provided and served lunches for the team of archeologists during the five-day event led by J.P. Girault. The excavations show that the aqueduct is in fact a water channel of the Late Bronze Age or the first Iron Age (period of the Gauls) but its function cannot be established with certainty. Further excavation would be needed in order to understand how it could have been used. The upper section of the aqueduct was re-covered in septembre 2010.
7th and 10th July : strimming... The beginning of July is the start of the now traditional event of strimming and tidying the site of the Fontaine de Loulié. This involves a team of volunteers of the Association in difficult and dangerous work which is not getting any easier over the years. Those taking part would heartily welcome new young additions to the team. Thanks are due also to the team preparing a hearty and convivial meal to sustain the workers - always a welcome pause in the work.
July 2010 : the wash house... The final stage of the restoration of the outdoor wash house constructed under Napoleon III, in particular the strengtening of the encircling wall and the perimeter of the basin and the installation of a pipe for the water, has been completed. The work was financed by the Association.