Where to stay
Telephone: 04 90 67 69 21
The Gallo-Roman villa des Bruns in Bedoin
This Gallo-Roman villa combines farming (parsrustica) with living (pars urbana). It is situated on the south face of the Mont Ventoux and was discovered by accident during a property development project. Rescue digs took place in 1995 to establish the state of preservation and archeological value of the site. Between 1996 and 2000 an archeologist, François Trial, undertook proper archeological excavations.
This 1000m² villa has exceptionally high walls (up to 2 meters) which were protectedby the natural slope of the grounds. The material used are rough: no luxurious items such as mosaics were uncovered. We know that the southern Piedmonts of the Dentelles and the Ventoux as well as the area surrounding Mazan, were densely populated with this type of farming housing during the Gallo-Roman era.
The archeological study helped expose three stages of occupation:
-In In the 1st Century this site sheltered a small rural farm. The ruins of a fewbuildings, planed down by the years, remain. Two grindstones and a whole lot of olia (semi-buried earthenware jars used for storage) were uncovered.
The erection of the villa goes back to the 2nd Century. It was built on different levels because of the downslope of the natural terrain. Its barlong base of 80 meters in length and 11 in width is unique in the Narbonnaise area (province of the roman empire covering the whole of the south east of France). 27 rooms linked with a covered gallery were identified. In fact, all other Gallo-roman villas discovered in the region, in Vaison for example, were organized in a quadrangle disposition around a courtyard called atrium. The Villa des Bruns is a unique phenomenon or maybe a pioneer model of the Provencal Mas. It remains an enigma…
The farming part is situated in the south east whereas the living area is spread over the north west with thermal rooms in the meeting point of the two. The uncovered elements reveal a difference in the architecture of both areas. Inthe living and thermal parts, the roofing is supported by coated pillars madeof terra cotta whereas in the farming area, wood pillars were probably used. The walls are made with opus caementicum: lime plaster with small local limestone rubble. The floors are different depending on the function of the areas too: terrazzo (concrete with limestone) in the living areas; watertight concrete in the thermal areas and clay for the farming spaces.
Remarkable painted coatings were discovered in several places: blue paint in the bath ofthe frigidarium (cold room of the thermae), yellow on the walls of the same room and red in the large outside pool.
The villa was abandoned during the 3rd Century. It was lived in again in the 5th and 6th Centuries. The plans were modified as we discovered traces of metallurgic activity.