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Pool Foundations & Discovered a Roman Wall!!!


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First a little background info: -


We have bought Le Presbytere (French equivalent of the vicarage) in a small village in the Lot region. The church which is some 30 metres from our property was built on the site of a Roman temple, and you can still see evidence of 2 large pillars of the original Roman site. Occasionally the odd interested party visits the church for a look around with regard to the Roman connection.


Last August we applied for permission for a small 8X4 swimming pool. Permission was duly granted and we started excavation this week. However the contractor we hired using a small earth excavator discovered the remains and very good remains at that of a Roman wall. The dimensions which match the outside dimensions of the church. The wall has been covered by lots of rubble which appears to have been put on the wall around the time the house was built in 1828. So we are not really dealing with a ‘virgin’ site

The Marie called in a local archaeologist (she had made a study last year of the church) who has since reported back to a higher authority in Toulouse who has since stopped the work pending further investigation. It also appears that the Marie and the archaeologist(s) suspected that the wall was there but did not have the funds to investigate the matter

We are hoping (the Marie and the local archaeologist suggested thus pending Toulouse approval) that access to the site for recording purposes (photos measurements etc) then we will be allowed to continue with the pool construction with minor adjustments to the pool size and placement as to not damage the wall.


Obviously the fate of the pool lies in the hands of the Roman gods and elsewhere. Worst scenario is the pool construction gets stopped/cancelled leaving me with a bill to the contractor for nothing!!!! We are hoping the outcome is agreeable to all as we have no desire to demolish/damage the wall ourselves


I was wondering has anyone else had a similar experience in finding such ruins, dealing with the relevant authorities, timescale, stress levels etc.


John & Julie

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I hope that you get away with it! If you had found them in the UK, English Heritage would be called in by the county Archieologist, and you could be made to have the remains excavated to E.H.'s specifications at your expense! If you were allowed to dig at all that is, they would be within the law to insist that all building stopped and no further excavations done at all [including deep rooted plants!] Iknow this from personal experience with a similar situation in the UK.

I hope the rules are not as strict for you!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just thought some of you out there might like an update.

Archeologists have been at the house for 3 days.

After talking to the 'supervisor' who travelled the 2 hours from Toulouse everyday it transpires that the Marie should have never given permision for the pool in the 1st place. However since the permission has been granted and we have paid out 10,000 euros already the pool can go ahead.

The wall is not roman after all but dates to 11/12th century.

Quite amusing watching the pool installer (locall 1 man band oufir) arguing with the trio of archeologits as they were trying to pour over the wall millimetre by millimetre. As he said they can do that post dig not whilst he has a machine and driver on hire. It did gt quite heated at 1 point and eventually the pool installer won shall we say.

Also lots os sightseers from goodness knows where turned up. We are reasonable folk but we had to tell a few in no uncertain terms leave now please. We now lock the gate to the property just whilst work is ongoing.

So outcome is, pool can go ahead but it will be inside the wall and 5X7 not 8X4. It will also be in a slightly different position than the original plan. A 'Modification de travaux ' to be submitted in retrospect once pool is completed.

So here is a picture of the wall and hopefully will post a picture soon (2 months we hope) of the completed pool


John & Julie.


PS still awaiting pool pics under:- http://www.completefrance.com/cs/forums/934058/ShowPost.aspx



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  • 2 weeks later...


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