A thirteen-century wreck comes out of the ground near Bordeaux


REPORT – This unique discovery in France will allow us to better understand the High Middle Ages, a poorly known period.

Special Envoy To Villenave-d’Ornon

The wood is permanently moistened. Under a tent 5 meters high, the temperature rises and the air is barely breathable. The early heat wave is a danger for this ship buried underground and protected from the vagaries of the weather for almost thirteen centuries. “If the wood dries out, it degradessummarizes Laurent Grimbert, archaeologist at Inrap (National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research) and head of the excavation site. Regularly an archaeologist from the team therefore goes down near the wreckage and waters the wood using a hose. “There is a certain paradox, notes Laurent Grimbert. Without water we cannot work, but to work and study the wreckage we need to clear it and a dry environment.

Excavations resumed here, in Villenave-d’Ornon (Gironde), a few kilometers from Bordeaux, last April. The wreck was discovered in 2013, during an ordinary diagnosis – before any development work, the law prescribes…

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