‘Exceptionally large’ Roman building discovered in Switzerland

A view from above the dig site in Glis near the town of Brig. Canton Valais

Archaeologists have unearthed a Roman building in south-western Switzerland whose dimensions and method of construction have never been seen in the region.

This content was published on October 20, 2020 - 17:49

Cantonal authorities announced the discovery on Tuesday, adding that the building found in Glis in canton Valais was nine metres wide and had mortar walls. Researchers estimate it was built between the 3rd and 5th centuries based on shards of ceramic vessels imported from Northern Gaul.

This is the second Roman building exhibiting these types of walls found in that part of the canton. The first was a small, sacred building in the neighbouring village of Gamsen.

The excavations were made in connection with the construction of a rental building and underground garage. In the process, archaeologists discovered several buildings from the Roman period on an area of 800 square metres.

“This building, of exceptional size for the period, extends outside the area concerned by the excavations,” the canton said in a statement.

The researchers are trying to excavate another building of more than 40 square metres that has dry-stone walls, as well as a clay and wood building and a kiln that was used for limestone production. They suspect that these buildings belonged to a small agricultural and craft settlement.

The canton said this latest finding was a testament to the major influence the Roman Empire had on the region that had been unknown until now. “This site could be the missing link to understanding the history of settlement in the Upper Valais,” it said.

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