Les Amis : News
Juin 2017 - New booklet : The battle of Uxellodunum (in French)
On sale in the Raymondie Museum in Martel, price 7€.
The actual location of the siege of Uxellodunum, the last important battle of the Gallic Wars in 51 BC. generated very early debates. But, unlike the other important sites evoked by Caesar (Gergovie, Alesia ...), the question was still unresolved 25 years ago, for lack of recent research on the site of Puy d'Issolud.
From 1993 onwards, an ambitious research program was set up in the framework of annual, multi-annual, programmed operations authorised and financed by the Ministry of Culture.
Following the discoveries at Puy d'Issolud (at the Loulié spring), on 26 April 2001 in Toulouse, the Minister of Culture, with the backing of the main scientific specialists of the period, including Christian Goudineau, chair of Antiquities at the Collège de France, announced the Puy d'Issolud site to be that of Uxellodunum.
This new booklet was published in June 2017 by the Friends of the Raymondie Museum and the Friends of Uxellodunum.
June 22, 2017: Report of the Extraordinary General Meeting of the Association
Following the Extraordinary General Meeting in 2015, which made it possible to seal our partnership with the association Racines - an active partnership within the framework of a convention - the current objective of the association is to comply with the requirement to propose a new Board of Directors.
Roger Mialet presented the annual report, which was adopted by a majority. The report described a significant decline in the number of members following the many defections of people tired of the incessant fighting, plus the political and local attempts of appropriation.In spite of everything, we are still in a certain way the living memory of Uxellodunum since its formalisation in 2001. For the most part we know the history well for having experienced it and our investment has always been important and disinterested.
A few important elements during this period make it possible to better understand the situation. First of all the numerous national and local elections have caused a certain amount of turbulence within the S.M.G.S.U. The presidency has successively changed from that of Louis Crémèse to that of Dominique Lascaux, then Pierre Verdier, again Hugues Du Pradel and finally Alain Reinat, former vice-president of our association. Now that he has taken office we can reasonably expect the situation to stabilise in order to create the conditions for an active and peaceful partnership.
However, despite this period of uncertainty, significant progress has nevertheless been made. At the strong request of the associative network, a Scientific Committee has been created under the authority of Vincent Guichard, Director of the European Archaeological Centre of Mont Beuvray, whose competence in the archaeological field is unanimously recognised. This committee, in its meeting of 2 February 2015, proposed a number of works that were validated by the SMGSU of the time. This work was the subject of a DETR : Dotation d’Equipement des Territoires Ruraux (Equipment Assignment for Rural Territories), that was accepted in 2015 by a Prefectoral decree, the work to be carried out quickly so as to repair, restore and develop the site to allow a progressive reopening to the public. The aim of a reopening in the context of the Journées Européennes du patrimoine (European Heritage Days) in September 2017 may seem a bit ambitious but is still relevant.
At the moment work is being done or has been carried out and the site is gradually regaining the aspect that it had when the association des Amis d'Uxellodunum maintained it. One can only rejoice.
That said, we can never repeat enough that it is thanks to Jean-Pierre Girault's work that the question of Uxellodunum is at the heart of our concerns. But in the end, what remains of the site's memorable officialisation of 26 April 2001, already 16 years ago, in spite of everything?
There are a number of publications and a website, uxellodunum.com, which is a veritable mine of information and brings together almost all the recognised and validated scientific knowledge on the subject even if many questions remain unanswered. This work deserves further specific, complementary research. Scientific knowledge is the launching pad of the Uxello rocket.
Under the impetus of the Association des Amis du Musée de la Raymondie, the museum of Martel opened to the public in 2015, and this year inaugurated an excellent permanent exhibition on Uxellodunum, which contributes to the valorisation and knowledge of the site, even though a harmonisation with the museum of Vayrac would be logical. A centre of knowledge, open to the public and bringing together some of the objects and artifacts found on the site is the second stage of the Uxello rocket.
And then there is the site strictly speaking without which nothing exists, this site of Puy d'Issolud and more particularly of the Fontaine de Loulié in our commune (Saint-Denis-lès-Martel), in the heart of our territory. This site has been extensively disturbed, by the various excavations and its various usages more or less controlled. It is on this site that most efforts must be concentrated today to allow it to be opened to the public in a realistic way and also enjoy lasting protection. This is the third stage of the Uxello rocket.
As we can see, the situation is still fragile and we have partially exhausted our collective right to error. Today, if we were not able to unite our strengths and skills between on the one hand ...
The local associations: Racines, the Friends of the museum of Martel, our own association,
Le Pays d'Art et d'Histoire at Carennac,
des Etudes du Lot in Cahors,
The various archaeological bodies,
The services of the State,
... and if we are not able to put our egos aside, and our sensitivities on the back burner, to work collectively in mutual respect, then we take the risk of definitively compromising any form of development of this major archaeological site thus depriving the territory of a potential touristic and economic springboard.
This is why our association has confidence in Alain Reinat, President of the SMGSU to carry the colors of Uxellodunum and finally enable reasonable and considered development, respectful of a fragile site, to help clear the record, to give appropriate legitimacy to each of the various partners, and to encourage a gradual migration of the development of Uxellodunum to Cauvaldor, this while remaining determined, vigilant and cooperative.
Alain Reinat reminded those present of the events, work in progress, and priorities. He asked for an update on the assets of the association, bearing in mind that a subscription has been launched with the Fondation du Patrimoine.
During this period we have worked in partnership with the association Racines, created links with others and supported the association des Amis du Musée de la Raymondie.
The financial report for the past year was presented by the treasurer, Monique Couret and received no comments. It was validated by the auditors. This financial report shows a positive balance at the end of 2016 of €11090.81 plus a number of assets, in particular a website and the ownership of a number of domain names which we have funded since their creation, such as Uxellodunum.com, .net, .eu, but also a collection of Jean-Pierre Girault's publications ranging from the Bronze Age to Prehistory, the Middle Ages, the Gallo-Romans, the official publication of Mont Beuvray, and booklets on the battle of Uxellodunum, sculptures from the 2012 symposium, a gate enabling access to the site, invoices for works to restore the wash house and wall, invoices for the excavation and treatment of excavated material, purchase of a cage containing the pebbles that served as projectiles in the course of the battle. A brush cutter was offered by the Syndicat in 2005, the saw having been destroyed during construction work. And, finally, a set of roadside signs on Uxellodunum were erected around the site as well as a number of T-shirts and small objects.
The meeting continued with the vote in favor of the candidates to the Board of Directors.
Elected members of the Board of Directors:
Georges Couret, Patrick Lascaux, Christian Missoty, Monique Couret, Didier Bertrand, Francine Bonati, Alain Parayre, Jean-Jacques Rougié, Caroline Mey-Fau and Roger Mialet.
Pierrette Tovena and Christian Delpy.
The new Board of Directors then fixed the membership fee at €15. This year the brochure "The battle of Uxellodunum", published with the Association des Amis du Musée de la Raymondie at Martel, will be offered to members.
To continue the reflection on the creation of a slideshow to present the battle in audiovisual form, in collaboration with the Association Racines and their archaeology group.
A concerted reflection on the improvements to be made at the level of the house and the fountain in order to allow visits by the public.
Participation in the implementation of the work undertaken by the SMGSU.
Contribution to the organisation of open days if the conditions are met.
In collaboration with Jean-Pierre Girault and Suzy Ireland, continuing to update the website.
The following members of the bureau were then elected:
President: Roger Mialet
Vice-president: Christian Missoty and Didier Bertrand
Secretary: Francine Bonati
Treasurer: Monique Couret
15th General Assembly
This 15th General Assembly ended with a drink, the participants agreeing that it had been fruitful and marked by a spirit of openness and optimism.
The Secretary: Francine Bonati
The President: Roger Mialet
3rd May 2015 : Report of the activities of the Association of the
2015 : Establishment of an organised framework for a
reasoned exploitation of the site
With effect from January''s Extraordinary Assembly General, a partnership agreement has come into force between the two associations Racines and the Amis d'Uxellodunum.
This agreement creates a sound basis for constructive participation in the development of the site. It also puts the research and associative network at the heart of the new Steering Committee whose job it is to define the necessary conditions of the site's exploitation, something we have been demanding for some time.
In parallel, the creation in 2015 of the association of the Amis du musée de la Raymondie in Martel is contributing to the development of awareness of our local heritage. With this aim in mind the association is preparing an exhibition on Uxellodunum for 2016 with the help and support of the Amis d'Uxellodunum, alongside Jean-Pierre Girault.
The bust of Lucterius created during the sculpture symposium organised by the association
At long last, under pressure from the associative network, a Scientific Committee was set up under the authority of Vincent Guichard, Director of the european archeological centre at Mont Beuvray. This committee first met in February to take stock of the state of the site and to consider the present and future constraints involved.
The migration in January 2016 of the Syndicate Mixte (S.M.G.S.U.) into Cauvaldor (the new community of communes of the valley of the Dordogne in northern Lot) should help to create the conditions necessary for a durable and sensible management of the site in the future.
On a different subject, our small association has recently been in contact with an association in Cesena, an Italian town with a population of around 100,000 inhabitants, interested in forming links with the site of Uxellodunum. This initiative has reminded us of the rich scientific and cultural content of this website and Jean-Pierre Girault's unceasing work in producing interesting new material. It also shows the interest in this episode of the Gallic Wars, even outside of our frontiers.
And finally I must mention Jean-Pierre Girault's two latest books, published in 2015. The first covers the medieval constructions in the Dordogne valley in Lot - cliff dwellings, refuges, troglodytic dens, hideouts, lookout posts and other constructions up in the cliffs along the valley. Of particular interest in Saint-Denis-Les-Martel, the hideout and watermill at Briance, the shelter at Roqueblanque - better known as the cave of the paintings, the castle mound of the Bois Grand, the caves and shelter of Balme, les Courtils, Balmissou and Traucou, the cave at Cabrejou, the hideout at Roquepen all of which are a reminder of Saint-Denis in times past. All of these places bear witness to the rich history of our commune during the troubled period of the Hundred Years War.
The second book covers the habitat
of the Gauls and Gallo-Romans
in the Dordogne valley in Lot. Here again, Jean-Pierre Girault has made a complete inventory of the traces, finds and different discoveries
made in the area which help to throw light on the Gallo-Roman period, at the same time touching on the fragility and richness of the various sites involved.
As far as Saint-Denis is concerned, other than the fontaine de Loulié and Uxellodunum, well known to everyone, the book covers the sites of Pont de la Font, la Coste, la Verrie, Pontou, Malbouyssou, Parriche, les Termes, le Pont roux and Pech Laguille, all of which reveal traces of ancient occupation, in some cases over a long period.
These two publications are on sale in local book shops and also from the Association (see Publications).
3rd May 2014 : Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Association of the Amis d’Uxellodunum
Chaired by the president, Roger Mialet, in the presence of Dominique Lascaux, president of the joint committee for the management of the site of Uxellodunum (Syndicat Mixte pour la Gestion du Site d'Uxellodunum or S.M.G.S.U.).
In his report, the president emphasized the substantive work done in 2013 to reconnect with the elected representatives of the territory via a dialogue of trust. This was largely possible thanks to the foresight of Mr Louis Crémèse and the support of the archeological network. Thanks to the work carried out by Jean-Pierre Girault, the site of Uxellodunum possesses a considerable amount of documentation, and the website developed by Suzy Ireland is an important service that will promote future research into a development project for Uxellodunum in the territory.
On 12th February and 12th March, important meetings with the S.M.G.S.U. enabled a halt to the programming of initiatives, in order to restart the mission of Vincent Guichard under the new S.M.G.S.U. governance, promoting the indispensable establishment of a Scientific Committee.
The president's report was unanimously adopted.
The annual report of activities, presented by Caroline Mey-Fau, reiterated these various points indicating the need to develop a slideshow on Uxellodunum to raise awareness of the site, both in terms of tourism and education, as well as at the scientific level, with particular emphasis on the work of Jean-Pierre Girault. Opening the site to the public is the sole responsibility of the S.M.G.S.U. (for this reason the organization of the heritage days in September 2013 was cancelled). The action plan validated on 12th February 2014 in Martel sets out a very reasonable way of working. The regional curator of DRAC, on behalf of the State, validated the serious work carried out under the presidency of Louis Crémèse and encouraged the new leaders in their implementation.
The report of activities was unanimously adopted.
After the presentation of the Association's sound finances by the treasurer, Monique Couret, the President thanked all the participants, including Dominique Lascaux who said how much she wanted the dialogue between the Association and the S.M.G.S.U. to be resumed. This wish is shared by Jean-Pierre Girault who, by his presence, emphasised his commitment to the site of Uxellodunum and to St-Denis-lès Martel.
At the end of the AGM, the members of the committee of the Association for 2014-2015 were elected. See Association.
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.
January 2014 : The President's Report : looking back on 2013
Jean-Pierre Girault, the new publications and the website...
2013 has been a pivotal year for the Association and for the site of Puy d'Issolud.
On 17th May 2013 the Amis of Uxellodunum and many others celebrated the award of the medal of honour of Chevalier of Arts and Letters to Jean-Pierre Girault at a ceremony held at the Chateau des Doyens at Carennac. Representatives of the DRAC (Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs, a service of the French Minister of Culture), Mont Beuvray (Bibracte, European Centre of Archeology) and members of three other associations based in Lot, Racines, the Société des Etudes du Lot and the Amis du Pays de St Céré, were present in recognition of their friendship and respect for Jean-Pierre, for his work and that of the volunteers who have worked with him. See Activities.
Following close networking by the Association, on 17th April 2013 a proposal was put to the DRAC-SRA for the formation of a Scientific Committee for the site of Uxellodunum, in order to establish a set of objectives and plans for the management and exploitation of the site, in harmony with its surroundings. This proposal opposes the direction of the works recently carried out i.e. a closed site and huge carpark.
2013 : a year of fruitful exchanges with the SMGSU (Syndicat for the management of the site of Uxellodunum). The new presidence of Monsieur Crémèze has enabled a thoughtful dialogue to take place. In addition, the technical information made available in 2013 on this website of the Association has given everyone access to a body of information validated by the scientific community, covering the research carried out at Uxellodunum and at the fountain of Loulié.
Our proposals for the management and exploitation of the site take account of its fragility and of the need to carry out further archeological research, as Jean-Pierre Girault reminded us in a letter to the Association on 3rd July 2013.
2013 came to an ideal close with the publication of the archeological study carried out on the siege of Uxellodunum at Puy d'Issolud by Jean-Pierre Girault, the 23rd book in the Bibracte collection by the European Centre of Archeology at Mont Beuvray.
This study confirms the importance of archeology in the identification of the site of the battle of Uxellodunum, "one of the last significant episodes of the Gallic Wars", as stated by Michel Reddé in his preface
Presentation by Jean-Pierre Girault of his new book at the conference Archeology of the Gallic Wars
by Michel Reddé, held at the museum Saint-Raymond in Toulouse on 6th December 2013
This latest book follows the publication, also in 2013, in cooperation with the Conseil Général du Lot, the Association des Amis d'Uxellodunum and éditions Racines, of Jean-Pierre Girault's study of the prehistoric occupation of Puy d'Issolud, of the valley of the Dordogne in the department of Lot and of its tributaries in the north of Lot.
2013 has mobilised a team united in the aim of opening up the site of Uxellodunum in a rational manner, sympathetic to its fragility and importance, in cooperation with the development of the valley of the Dordogne in Lot, as a cultural and touristic destination.
Some seeds of friendship, some seeds of love and a little luck - all we need to kick off the new year! Here's to wish you a harvest of happiness on behalf of our association! Happy new year!