At the place called Chemin des Buis, in the south-east of the ancient town of Néris-les-Bains/Aquae Nerii, the Inrap teams have uncovered ancient remains and architectural blocks probably belonging to a funerary monument, an unprecedented discovery in Auvergne.

Gallo-Roman buildings

The archaeological diagnosis allowed the discovery of Gallo-Roman remains as well as several architectural blocks decorated: a fragment of modilliary cornice and the angle of a small building 50 cm wide x 48 cm high. This last fragment represents a 26 cm wide engaged pilaster decorated with nested leaves topped with a corinthian capital decorated with a figurine. To the left of the pilaster is either a male bust with a casket or a low-relief breastplate.


Opening of a Tuscan capital. © Marie-Laure Thierry, Inrap

During the excavation, a group of Gallo-Roman buildings were identified. Two of them have a partially legible plan, to the south-west and to the west, contrary to the northeast zone where several states of occupation succeed each other. This area was first laid out with several pipes of different designs and then two buildings were built in this place: they are represented by two carefully built walls with tile setting bases linked to lime mortar, which are obliterated by a level of tegulae demolition. The architecture develops in the north-east in the neighbouring plot. The northwest part of this complex is disturbed by a large pit that destroyed all the remains.

A possible mausoleum

Another sculpted architectural element was remarkable for its shape as soon as it was discovered on the ground: broken into two pieces, this element has a conical shape 140 cm in diameter x 30 cm in height, the surface of which is covered with finely sculpted scales (20 x 26 cm). The back of the block has an anathyrosis frame (partial polishing of the joint face to limit the surface in contact with the contiguous block) indicating that it was intended to receive its twin at the back to form a circular assembly. This block is typical of the conical spire mausoleums of ancient times.


Location of the lapidary blocks of Néris on the model of that of Glanum. © Inrap

 Developer: Individual
Scientific Control: DRAC Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Regional Archaeology Service
Archaeological Research: Inrap
Scientific Manager: Marie-Laure Thierry, Inrap