Rennes-le-Château and Rennes-les-Bains

Rennes-le-Château and Rennes-les-Bains

Glossary of Roman Finds

 If you are interested in archeology, here's the names of what to look for!


amphorae (which is the correct plural!) in the museum at Cap d'Agde
Terra cotta jars for wine.  Used for other products, such as salted sardines and oysters.  Many designs from different countries and different time periods.


Bourne milliaire
Milestones 2 metres high which were placed alongside major Roman roads, inscribed with the name of the current emperor and the distance from the nearest major town in Roman miles.  The pictures shows one in the archeological museum at Narbonne, it was found beside the Via Domitia just to the south of the town.  It was erected by Ahenobarbus in 118BC.  His name means Redbeard.

Briques, bricks

 Bricks used in the underground heating system at Clos de la Lombarde, Narbonne

  The use of terracotta allowed an immense degree of freedom in a wide range of areas of construction such as the tiling of roofs, waterproofing of pools, and most importantly for making bricks and pipes.  Although bricks tend to be softer and less durable than hard stone they are more easily carried and managed. It is easier for a man to shift a pile of bricks than to carry one large stone block.  Bricks were used for floors and walls, especially for heating systems, and were many different sizes. Unlike modern building bricks, they had no dip in the top.



 Huge stone storage jars for oil, grain etc.  Sometimes half buried underground in a small house.

 A two-handled jug




I must say I have never been lucky enough to find either a whole one or a part of one of these delightful little lamps.  The insides were filled with oil and a piece of cord was used as a wick.  The lamps would be in group on the table, just as we use the tiny white candles today.  They had various designs according to the household or location; these have deer on them, I have a facsimile of one with a charioteer on, that I bought in the Musée St Raymond in Toulouse.

 Sigillée Pottery
Finely-made terra cotta tableware with a delicate red glaze, decorated with natural forms, animals and scenes from everyday life, sometimes known as Graufesenque, after the Roman site near Millau in Aveyron where it was manufactured.  Another variety of Sigillée was made in north Africa, part of the Roman Empire at the time, with a more muted glaze.  Items were often marked with the name or symbol of the potter.

    One day I found an amusing item in an archeological bulletin.  A vast hoard of sigillée pottery was found at today’s junction of the rue Lamartine with the avenue Anatole France in Narbonne, where was once the Via Aquitania leading to Carcassonne.  The archeologist’s thought it was maybe a shop for sigillée, but it was outside the city walls.  However, nearby was what is today’s church of St. Bonaventure, which could have been, at the time when all the graveyards were outside the ramparts, a chapel which held ceremonies for the dead.  Hence, the sigillée shop was one of the first suppliers of tomb furniture to the bereaved. This is interesting archeologically, because it was only after their conversion to Christianity that the Romans buried their dead.

Opus Spicatum

When used in floors small individual bricks would be placed on their sides in a herringbone pattern in order to render the surface more durable.  Occasionally this same pattern, maybe just one row of bricks at a time, was used in wall construction.  They varied in size, on average, 7cm by 4.5cm by 2,5 cm. Incredible workmanship to get a level floor; it would be great if architects could do something similar today.


A stone coffin, that would be particularly well decorated for the aristocracy and sometimes carry an inscription..
Beside the church at Aigne, Minervois        In the crypt of St. Paul Serge church, Narbonne.


 Small blocks of stone in different colour used to make mosiacs.  They were twice as long as they were wide and were stood on end on a bed of cement, then tapped completely level for a floor before pointing between them.  That's how mosaics were made.  The picture shows a whole floor found at Le Clos de la Lombarde at Narbonne.

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