Tour des Fouilles (20): No entry for cars - the campus pecuarius of Aix-les-Bains

Rhône-Alpes: Inscription from Aix-les-Bains -

In 1869, archaeologists in Aix-les-Bains found, somewhere in the town, a long Latin inscription. It was a stone, inscribed on two sides with the same text. While the text was - as often - damaged, it proved possible to reconstruct and translate the first part of the text, which read something like:

"Let no-one enter this cattle field with a car, except when there is a market or if one is a guest to be lodged in the Asicianus or Paconianus pavillion, or if one wants to go to the (sacred?) woods. Whoever will enter with a car otherwise will pay a fine of ..."

The text probably stood along some road, and was intended to regulate traffic in or around the Vicus Aquae Sextiae - Roman Aix-les-Bains - which is directly underneath the Mont Revard. The text - which is unique in this region - sheds light on another aspect of 'Romanization' in this region: the establishment of formal, legal frameworks.

The inscription also tells us quite a bit about the regional economy: cattle-breeding played a major role, and there may have been wood-production as well. Even in small settlements like Aquae Sextiae, there were periodic markets, where traders would come to sell their wares - you may think of textiles, metal products, and pottery, and jewellery - basically anything for which demand locally was too low to feed a specialized craftsman. Perhaps also wine and olive oil (as these had to be imported). 

Bibliography

Leveau, Ph. (2007) 'Le règlement du campus pecuarius d'Aix-les-Bains'. in Dalaison, J. (ed.) Espaces et pouvoirs dans l'antiquité de l'Anatolie à la Gaule: hommages à Bernard Rémy. Grenoble: CRHIPA, 405-414.
Leveau, Ph.; Rémy, B.; Canal, A.; Segard, M. (2005) 'Aix-les-Bains, vicus thermal et bourg rural'. RevArchNar 38, 85-103.