ARCHAEOLOGY

ARTIFACT

he Roman Empire’s thousands of miles of territory required hundreds of thousands of soldiers to guard and maintain it. In addition to weapons, armor, and clothing,. At some point, one Roman legionnaire deposited this valuable piece of his equipment in an offering pit at a small sanctuary in southern Gaul. Recent excavations conducted in advance of construction by France’s National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) revealed the previously unknown sanctuary, which consisted of two small temples, an additional ritual building, and 42 votive pits. The deity worshipped there remains unknown. “There isn’t any conclusive evidence of which god the sanctuary was dedicated to,” says INRAP archaeologist Sylvain Motte. “It was probably a private rural place of worship.”

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