Despite the many alluring accounts in southern France, until recently, there wasn’t any evidence that the ancient lost city of Ucetia actually existed. However, archaeologists found plentiful data of this lost Roman city outside the current town of Uzés, near Nimes.
Philippe Cayn, of the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research, was responsible for the crew of archaeologists.
They discovered footprints of numerous buildings. Namely, one of them had glorious tile mosaics on the floor.
According to Mr. Cayn, the ubiquity of a gallery and the mosaic in the 820 square feet building may symbolize this place had a public purpose.
“Prior to our work, we knew that there had been a Roman city called Ucetia only because its name was mentioned on the stela in Nimes, alongside 11 other names of Roman towns in the area. It was probably a secondary town, under the authority of Nimes. No artifacts had been recovered except for a few isolated fragments of mosaic,” said Cayn for IBITimes.co.uk.
The mosaic is quite remarkable, while its geometric shapes are very well maintained.
These kinds of mosaics were very typical for the Romans in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. However, this one stands out of them all because it’s older for around 200 years before the rest.
The archaeological site measures around 13,000 square feet. According to the archaeologists, people existed in Ucetia from the 1st century BC until the 3rd or 4th century AD. After this, the city got abandoned.
Researchers are wrapped in questions when it comes to the reason why people abandoned this site. However, they returned again from the 4th to the 7th century AD.
The triumph of the Romans within the area came to pass by the end of the 2nd century BC.
Researchers found a wall and remains of multiple other formations whose records dated before the Romans took the region.
One of the remains involved in a room with bread oven. At some point, the room was changed into an area with a dolium – a huge ceramic container. People used it as storage to keep food and drinks.
Most likely, the most important thing was indeed the mosaics. They illustrated traditional geometric shapes and medallions, like chevrons, waves and crowns.
“This mosaic is very impressive because of its large size, its good state of conservation and the motifs which combine classical geometric shapes and with animals. This kind of elaborate mosaic pavement is often found in the Roman world in the 1st and 2nd centuries, but this one dates back to about 200 years before that, so this is surprising”, said Cayn.