Advertisement
News

Archaeologists discover medieval castle in France

Archaeologists working at the northern French town of Viarmes have revealed several discoveries, including the remains of a medieval castle and a manor house destroyed in the fourteenth century.

Viarnes archaeological sites - photo by Denis Gliksman/ Inrap

The excavations also found items dating back to the prehistoric era, but most of the discoveries date from the Middle Ages. The dig was carried out around the main town square of Viarmes, which is located in the Val-d’Oise department and is home to about 5,000 residents.

Among the discoveries was a Merovingian oven that was used for smoking meat, and graves that indicate the existence, in this period, of a cemetery although it is impossible to say whether there was also a church. On the edge of the escavation the archaeologists found a moat and the remains of a twelfth-century castle, which at the time belonged to Viarmes families Pierrefonds, and later Garlande

By the end of thirteenth century and the beginning of the fourteenth century the fief was acquired by Pierre de Chambly, the king’s chamberlain. He and his descedants rebuilt the castle, adding to its defences, and also built a large manor house, which was destroyed by a fire in the later fourteenth-century, possibly during the warfare of the Hundred Years War.

Viarnes archaeological sites - photo by Denis Gliksman/ Inrap

The archaeologists discovered a large fireplace, latrines and rooms paved with colourful tiles. They also found the remains ornate stained glass, murals and particularly elaborate pavements with arms and complex designs. One of these arms, ‘three gold shells on a field’ are identified with the Chambly.

The floor tiles include green and yellow monochrome square tiles, as well as many yellow / red two-tone tiles. Some have geometric shapes (crown, trefoil, star, square, rectangle, circle) while others had figurative motifs: arms of Chambly, references to royal power (King riders, Lilies, Castillon) and animals (dogs and deer in a hunting scene, leopards and lambs).



Sign up to get a Weekly Email from Medievalists.net

* indicates required

Smartphone and Tablet users click here to sign up for
our weekly email