The Minister of Culture took note of the report made to her by the Prefect of the Bouches-du-Rhône after the public meeting he held on 31 August 2017 in Marseille. The discussions were useful in order to better understand the framework in which the State acts, and to enable the associations and elected officials who accompanied them to explain their positions and expectations.
The archaeologists of the State services were able to explain at length and precisely to the participants the scientific reasons which led them, in complete independence, to delimit the 635 m² of surface of the quarry to be protected, within the entire site that was excavated by the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP). It is this scientific data, which was not called into question at the meeting, which provides the legal basis for the State’s intervention in favour of the preservation and development of this high-quality space. The 635 m² identified as being of archaeological interest are well protected, as the minister had already indicated in July, and a protection procedure for historic monuments will be launched.
The associations and some of the elected representatives reiterated their request to abandon the project carried by Vinci Immobilier, which benefits from a building permit granted by the City of Marseille. In general, they marked the concern for the proper protection of archaeological heritage. These concerns reflect the exceptional interest of Marseillais in their heritage and their commitment to the history of their city.
The State services have not identified any new elements allowing to modify the decision announced in July on the basis of the reports of INRAP and the Regional Curator of Archaeology, after the opinion of the Territorial Commission of Archaeological Research. The law does not allow the State to extend the protected space to surfaces that do not justify it, as was stated at the meeting. Any other development could thus only come under an agreement between the real estate operator and the authority which issued the building permit.
The Minister of Culture calls for a better development of the archaeological site through increased visibility, a use of the adjoining space which the City owns and which overlooks the protected space, and an exploitation of the right of way which it has along the rampart.
It also hopes that visits to schools, students and the public, via the Municipal Tourism Office, will be organised regularly. She asked the prefect to prepare a convention to that effect as soon as possible.