Romanisation and Rural Reorganization on the Sénart Plateau
par Gilles Desrayaud (INRAP)
Throughout “Gaul”, the integration of the territories conquered by Caesar into the Roman World was not confined to a policy of “large scale developments”, but also included an important modification of the countryside. The region of Sénart, to the south of Paris, constitutes one of the best examples of the contribution of rural preventive archaeology to that area of research. The most striking features of Romanisation on the Sénart Plateau are the implantation of large scale orthogonal networks of drainage ditches and the multiplication of farmsteads. Since the beginnings of the Empire, the changes in the organisation and pattern of agricultural settlements could be linked to new land division and redistribution. During the Late Empire, the abandonment of the drainage ditches and of a majority of sites indicates the disappearance of the agricultural system characterizing the first centuries of Roman colonisation. Nonetheless, the permanence of some Gallo-Roman land boundaries, or of their orientations, can be observed in the rural landscape until the Modern and Contemporary periods.