1,000 Years of History Unearthed in Paris Suburb Excavation

Archaeologists uncover 1,000 years of history in Villiers-le-Bel, Paris, revealing the evolution from rural village to residential suburb, with structures dating from the 9th to 19th centuries.

Mahnoor Jehangir
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1,000 Years of History Unearthed in Paris Suburb Excavation

1,000 Years of History Unearthed in Paris Suburb Excavation

An archaeological excavation in Villiers-le-Bel, a suburb of Paris, has uncovered ruins spanning over 1,000 years of history. The site, which will be open to the public on April 27, 2024, contains structures dating from the 9th century AD to 19th-century homes of the wealthy, revealing the evolution of the area from a rural village to a residential suburb.

The oldest structures found at the site date back to the 9th and 10th centuries and were built using primitive materials like planted posts. Ruins from the late Middle Ages, constructed with sturdier materials such as gypsum and plaster, were also discovered. The excavation uncovered numerous 13th and 14th-century buildings with vaulted cellars, likely used for the local grape-growing and wine-making industry that flourished in the area during the medieval period.

In addition to the medieval structures, archaeologists unearthed the remnants of 18th and 19th-century homes of the wealthy. These buildings featured decorative elements such as gilded and colored stucco, reflecting the status and wealth of their owners. A rare lead plaque from 1912 was also found at the site, engraved with the names of the homeowners, designer, and builders.

Why this matters: The Villiers-le-Bel excavation provides a unique glimpse into the rich history and evolution of the Paris region over the past millennium. The findings shed light on the area's transition from a rural, wine-producing community to a residential suburb, offering valuable insights into the lives of its inhabitants throughout the centuries.

The excavation in Villiers-le-Bel is the latest in a series of archaeological projects carried out around Paris over the past 20 years. "The site is a rare example of a continuous historical record spanning over 1,000 years," said lead archaeologist Émilie Durand. "It allows us to better understand the development and transformation of the Paris region from the early Middle Ages to the modern era."

Key Takeaways

  • Excavation in Villiers-le-Bel uncovers 1,000+ years of history.
  • Structures from 9th to 19th centuries, revealing area's evolution.
  • Oldest buildings used primitive materials, later ones used gypsum.
  • Excavation uncovered medieval wine-making industry and wealthy homes.
  • Rare 1912 lead plaque found, providing insights into past residents.