Forgotten Landmark-Site of Bois l’Abbe, Beaumont, France

This archaeological site is located 3.8 kilometers southeast of D49 on Route de Beaumont, southeast of the city of Eu.

Site of Bois l'Abbe

Bing Maps 2014

This site is located in the L’Abbé woods, approximately 4 kilometers southeast of the town of Eu. The name Augusta, transmitted by 7th century texts, is probably that of an ancient estate; it appears again in the name of the modern village of Oust. The ensemble, partially excavated in the 19th century, covers more than 30 hectares on a plateau dominating the valley of the Bresle.

The great temple, built under Septimius Severus at the farthest extension of the plateau, was perhaps dedicated to Rome and Augustus. Forming a quadrilateral (32 x 27 meters), it consists of a vestibule in antis opening on a cella 13 meters on a side; the whole was surrounded on three sides by a gallery 4 meters wide. Built of local materials (flint and limestone) with brick bonding courses, it has lost its painted and carved decoration over the centuries. The cella was constructed on the ruins of a small temple, 8 meters on a side, built under Antoninus. Part of its decorations have survived.

These buildings occupied the site of a depository of sacred objects, used from the time of Augustus to that of Claudius. The area, which underwent architectural development about the middle of the 1st century A.D., has yielded discoveries of importance, particularly for the study of Belgic numismatics. To the north, west, and south, soundings have revealed the presence of other buildings, perhaps linked by a portico. They appear to have been contemporaneous with the large temple, and to have replaced older structures.

The theater is 200 m to the east, on the east slope of the plateau, towards the forest. Its facade, still only partially excavated, is approximately 100 m long, and from the middle of the stage wall to the surrounding wall is roughly 60 meters. This wall, which has been partially uncovered, was constructed of small blocks without brick bonding courses. It was modified and repaired, and during one of these modifications, in which flint, chalk, and tufa are mixed with brick, the stage wall was built in the 3rd century. The stage shows traces of a colonnade with a decoration of over lapping leaves, supporting a wooden architrave to which a long inscription was applied at the time of construction.

To the southeast, the fields are scattered with remains which may be those of a bath house, and on the edge of the forest are large substructures.[i]

[i] AUGUSTA AMBIANORUM Seine-Maritime, France; Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites; http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0006%3Aalphabetic+letter%3DA%3Aentry+group%3D11%3Aentry%3Daugusta-ambianorum

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