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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Archaeology Fieldtrip to Burgundy 2012

17-22 March 2012

This year's fieldtrip explored the outstanding archaeology, architecture and culture of the region of Burgundy in France. Dr Tom Moore, specialist in the European Iron Age and Roman period led the tour accompanied by Dr Claire Nesbitt, an expert on Byzantine and medieval ecclesiastical archaeology, and twenty students from different degree programmes and year groups.

After a short flight to Paris and a scenic train ride down France, the tour kicked off with a generous welcome from the Director of the archaeological research centre at Bibracte, our host institution for the five day trip, and included a much appreciated introduction to the region's wine and cassis cocktail the 'kir'. The week held a jam packed programme of the best of Burgundian archaeology including: a tour of the imposing Bibracte oppidum, atmospheric in the spring mists, and its newly refurbished museum; Dr Moore's excavations nearby at Sources de l'Yonne; the enigmatic Jupiter column at Cussy-la-Colonne, Temple of Janus at Autun, and a guided tour, by the curator, of the museum at Chatillon-sur-Seine housing the awe inspiring Vix Krater. One of the highlights was a sneak preview of the new museum and interpretation centre at Alesia, site of Vercingetorix's final stand against Rome, which hadn't yet opened. And that was just the Romano-Iron Age programme!

Woven in amongst these delights was a visit to the Carolingian crypt in the picturesque town of Flavigny (set of the film Chocolat and home of the anise mints!); a tour of medieval Autun, in glorious Spring sunshine, with its Romanesque cathedral and archaeology museum, and a visit to the wonderfully preserved 15th century Hospice de Beaune. To make sure it wasn't all work and no play an afternoon was spent wine tasting in the wonderful surroundings of the Marche-aux-vins, where, between sips of famous Burgundy wines, some (though not all!) even managed to notice the Jupiter statute, Merovingian tombs and Romanesque tympana that graced the interior. The trip was punctuated with fine French food, culminating in a final dinner including the finest of Burgundian delicacies - escargots (snails) and oeufs-en-meurette (poached eggs in a red wine sauce).