Wednesday, May 29, 2013

An Underground Refuge in Medieval France

Last year archaeologists in France discovered an underground complex of tunnels and rooms cut into the rock beneath the village of Sublaines, in the district of Bléré-Val-de-Che.

The network of tunnels and rooms extends for more than 50 meters (160 feet). Notice the niches for lamps in the picture at the top; there were also benches, planks on the floor, and a well for water.

The complex has been dated to the 11th century by pottery found in the fill, including this pot. (Which I really love. I have a thing for coarse earthenware, and this is a magnificent specimen.)

The tunnel entrance was concealed under a small post building. In the late 11th century this region was disputed between the Counts of Blois and Anjou, so there was a great deal of fighting. The archaeologists' theory is that these tunnels were built as a refuge and a place to hide valuables, perhaps by a family of well-off peasants or minor gentry.

1 comment:

leif said...

that earthenware pot is really beautiful. would you consider the streak near the top to be oxidation caused during firing, for instance proximity to wood or other combustibles?