Atuatuques, Condruses, Eburons... Culture matérielle et occupation du sol dans le territoire de la future civitas Tungrorum, de la fin de l'âge du Fer au début de l'époque gallo-romaine

Research output: External Thesis Doctoral Thesis

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The end of the Iron Age, the conquest and the creation of the civitas Tungrorum have, since the 19th century, been the subject of great historical interest and produced an abundant literature. Attempts to locate the oppidum of the Atuatuques and the battle of the Sabis, as well as contributions relating to the Gallic coins of our regions, are countless. In addition, a large number of sites have been the subject of field research, whether in the context of programme excavations or, more recently, preventive work. However, until now, no synthesis based on archaeological data has made it possible to form an idea of the way of life of the local populations before the Gallic War, to place our regions more globally in the cultural and chronological framework of northern Latin Gaul, or to measure the evolution of the indigenous populations through the conquest and the Romanisation. This work aims to fill in these gaps through an in-depth and comprehensive study of the material remains belonging to phases C and D of the Latin period and to the first Gallo-Roman horizons, i.e. a period that extends roughly between the middle of the 3rd century BC and the end of the first quarter of the 1st century AD. è. The geographical framework was defined on the basis of the limits of the oldest known territorial unit, namely the Gallo-Roman civitas Tungrorum, whose borders continued through the medieval ecclesiastical circumscriptions. Three objectives were defined: firstly, it was necessary to specify the chronology of the sites and objects of the late Latin period. Secondly, it was necessary to synthesise the data on furniture and occupations, in order to highlight the occupied territories, regional practices, exchanges and the evolution of groups and their material culture. Thirdly, it was necessary to explore, from an archaeological point of view, the problems dictated by the particular historical context of our geographical area. Ancient literary sources and contemporary historians have suggested that the local populations were massively exterminated during the conquest, and that the city could have been recomposed from peri-Rhenesian populations displaced by the Roman power and from what remained of the indigenous groups. This model, as well as the proposals for the location of the Latin tribal territories, was based mainly on the interpretation of ancient texts, and had to be carefully verified through the study of material traces.These priorities guided a progressive path through the data, ordered and collected little by little, until a more general picture could be sketched. The order of the chapters reflects the order of the approach. The first chapter aims to define the framework in which the territory studied is situated, with a review of the history of research and an overview of the geographical, historical and chronological contexts specific to the civitas Tungrorum territory. The following chapter is devoted to the in-depth study of 50 sets of material from a series of 17 Latin and early Gallo-Roman occupations spread over the study area (ch. 2). The assemblages of ceramic material were examined exhaustively, with particular emphasis on the identification of discriminating criteria (form, material, manufacturing technique) from a chronological or regional point of view. The corpus thus constituted and the bibliographical resources served as a basis for a more general examination of the material culture, through an analysis (characterisation, chronology and spatial distribution) of the main categories of furniture that have come down to us (chapter 3). These studies made it possible to highlight production and consumption traditions in the regions studied, and to reveal the existence of exchange and supply networks. This overview was completed by an in-depth examination of the land occupation modalities aimed at highlighting regional practices in terms of habitat, fortification or even funerary and cultic rites (ch. 4). Finally, we have attempted to produce a synthesis bringing together the results of these studies, by highlighting regional entities characterised by a community of practices, and their more global integration in the context of northern Gaul (ch. 5). This last chapter is also devoted to the confrontation of historical and archaeological data according to the series of problems defined previously, namely the location of the tribal territories cited by Caesar, the extermination of regional populations at the time of the conquest, the possible arrival of peri-Rhenian groups intended to repopulate the city, and the persistence of local Latin traditions through the conquest and the Romanisation.
Original languageFrench
Awarding Institution
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Warmenbol, Eugène, Supervisor, External person
  • Raepsaet, Georges, President, External person
  • Vokaer, Agnès, Jury Member, External person
  • Tholbecq, Laurent, Jury Member, External person
  • Guichard, Vincent, Jury Member, External person
  • Roymans, Nico, Jury Member, External person
Award date17 Mar 2017
Publication statusUnpublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • La Tène
  • Material culture
  • Land use
  • Civitas Tungrorum
  • Second Iron Age
  • Ceramics
  • Gaulish
  • Early Gallo-Roman

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