Archaeologists have discovered a Roman complex in northwest France that may have been a temple to the war god Mars, dating back to the first century B.C.
The complex, which covers more than 17 acres, was likely visited by Roman soldiers stationed in the region.
The discovery was made last year at La Chapelle-des-Fougeretz, Brittany, a site recognized for its wealth of archaeological remains since the 1970s.
The latest excavations began in 2022. The elevated location of the complex provides a commanding view of the Rennes basin, making it a likely location for religious ceremonies from Condate and surrounding areas.
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The discovery of a bronze statuette of Mars and iron weapons in a ditch around the sanctuary suggests that it was frequented by soldiers.
However, numerous terracotta figurines representing Venus and mother goddesses were also found nearby, making it difficult to determine the sanctuary’s dedicated deity.
The site likely dates from the time of Julius Caesar’s conquest of Brittany and was used until the fifth century A.D.
The complex expanded over time to include a small town with public baths and a cemetery containing about 40 tombs, some of which contained silver items and other artifacts.
Preservation and study of the artifacts are underway to prevent deterioration, and X-rays and 3D imaging are being used to document the discoveries.
Other Roman temples have been associated with multiple deities, so caution is advised when assigning a single deity to the La Chapelle-des-Fougeretz sanctuary based on the findings alone.