a site of the department of the Moselle

The Gallo-Romans

The town of Bliesbruck developed from the middle of the 1st century AD to reach its maximum extension in the first half of the third century, with a population of 2 to 3 thousand inhabitants. The existence of a public monumental centre and the regular structuring of artisanal districts, whose remains are now preserved and visible on the site, shows the urban nature of this place This also reflects the wealth of the territory where this small town acted as a link to Divodurum (Metz), capital of the ancient city of Mediomatrici.

Public thermal baths

The thermal bath complex was built in the late 1st century AD following a design that did not undergo any major changes until the 3rd century. The baths were used to combine hygiene with relaxation. The areas for bathing, physical exercises and rest were also platforms for meetings and exchanges thus giving this monumental building an important social role in the heart of the small town.
The architectural program of the thermal baths underwent a certain codification imposed by the bath ritual and characterized by a progressive flow of warm to hot followed by a spraying or a cold bath. Several rooms were equipped with under floor heating (hypocaust). Hot air circulated between the pillars made of terracotta flagstone that supported the floor.
The contemporary museum pavilion offers, from the perspective of remains, a way for the public to interpret and understand the functions of different rooms.
If the baths were, in Antiquity, accessible to a large part of the population, these bathers can now only be identified through the personal items they lost, including many fibulas (pins that were used to fasten dresses) and ornamental objects now on display at the reception of the museum pavilion.

The public monumental centre, a true forum

The preserved remains are proof of a real urban scenography. A vast place structured by a network of paths is defined at the bottom by the monumental façade of the public thermal baths. It is flanked by two rows of shops and closed laterally, on the one hand by a basilica, large building with three naves that hosted all sorts of public gatherings and, on the other hand, by a wing of shops which reinforced the commercial aspect of this space. In the centre, forming with the baths a real water axis, a fountain is built in the form of a semicircle, representing a symbol of urban dignity and proof of the civilizing influence of the Roman Empire.

Artisanal districts

From either side of the main road, preserved under the old road linking Bliesbruck to Reinheim, artisanal and commercial neighbourhoods were set up. Two of them (West and East) have been excavated, preserved and are now accessible to visitors.
They consist of elongated rectangular houses lined with porticoes and opening from their short side to the road. These homes combine, within a single unit, craft areas, shops, and living rooms with under floor heating. They extend to the rear with enclosed plots containing ancillary equipment or equipment used for gardening, in the orchard or for the breeding of small animals.
The excavations have helped revealed various activities: iron metallurgy, bronze crafts, bakery, pottery ... These craftsmen had some level of comfort, judging from the discovery of numerous metal objects, jewellery, coins, bathing and writing articles which are exposed in the exhibition gallery of the exhibition center.

The large villa

At about 800m northwest of the Gallo-Roman settlement is a large villa, which belonged to a wealthy landowner. It falls under the category of large rural settlements, in an axial plane, characterized by a separation of the residential part from the master's house, and the economic part. The comfort and luxury of the residential part, worthy of a Roman notable, is hardly visible today because of its state of preservation. It consisted of several reception rooms: rooms with heated floors, frescoed walls, private baths and colonnades. The economic courtyard was surrounded by an enclosure wall on which were leaned in a regular and symmetrical manner, twelve annex buildings (six on each side): farm buildings, workshops or living quarters for the staff of the large estate where the villa was the centre.
The partial restoration of this villa also explains the symbolic and political dimension of this house, beyond the economic centre and the place of residence of a large family. The general organization aims to refurbish the Master's quarters which can only be reached after a long walk, after crossing a porch and entering into an enclosed space - refurbishments worthy of a city wall.
The villa has yielded many archaeological objects, some of which are exhibited in one of the restored buildings. The most emblematic is the face-shaped metallic visor of a helmet, a striking element of the parade equipment of the cavalry corps of the Roman army in which probably served one of the notables of the villa.

The Gallo-Roman entertainment area

A bakery- milling factory and a pottery were reconstructed on the site and allow you to immerse yourself instantly into the daily life of the Gallo-Roman craftsmen-traders. An experimental garden features plants grown or consumed by the inhabitants of the town, according to data provided by archaeology.

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