A team of Inrap archaeologists has begun excavating at Famars (Nord) in advance of the construction of the Mont Houy technopole, a 45 hectare technological and scientific activity center.

Chronicle of site
Last modified
19 January 2017

To enable the archaeological research and site construction to coincide, an agreement concerning the excavation was signed between the Valenciennes Métropole, the developer of the technopole, Inrap, and the Valenciennes Archaeology Service. This agreement covers four years of research. In November 2011, 2500 m² will be explored. In 2012, the archaeologists will work on 3 hectares for nine months. In total, nearly 7.4 hectares will be excavated under the curation of the State (Drac Nord - Pas-de-Calais). 

Fanum Martis

Famars, the Antique Fanum Martis, was an important city of the Early Empire. Located at the border of the Nerviens and Artrébates territories, between the Bavay-Cambrai and Bavay-Tournai routes, and along the shore of the Rhônele, a tributary of the Escaut, its geographic location contributed to its economic development. This agglomeration, which extended over nearly 150 hectares, was structured around public buildings (baths, aqueduct, temple, etc.) and defensive constructions (the wall of the castrum of the Late Roman Empire). The research realized at Famars is critical to our understanding of the economic and political zone of northern Gaul from the Early Empire to the end of Antiquity. During the Middle Ages, Fanum Martis perished due to a lack of heirs and was replaced by Valenciennes. 

An Antique craftsmen quarter and military remains from the 17th century

The site of Mont Houy is located at the northern and western edge of the Antique agglomeration; the research in 2011 and 2012 will complete the mapping of the Antique city. They will also clarify the nature of this quarter where habitations and pottery, metallurgy, butchery and local sandstone working activities co-existed. The research will also concern a more recent period, represented by the remains of a military camp of the siege of Valenciennes in 1677, during which the French army of Louis XIV confronted the Dutch, Austrians and Spanish during the Thirty Years War. 

A research project

In 2011, the creation of a collective research program of the Minsitry of Culture and Communication, headed by Raphaël Clotuche, an Inrap archaeologist, will ensure the study and synthesis of ancient data originating from observations and archaeological excavations in the 17th and 19th centuries, as well as those resulting from the excavations realized since the 1970’s. 
This vast site will provide an opportunity for archaeologists to test new methods of research and recording of the remains excavated in the field (direct recording on graphic tablets, direct recording of topographic data, geomagnetism, archeomagnetism, etc.). 
Developer : Valenciennes Métropole
Curation : Inrap and Municipal Archaeology Service of  Valenciennes 
Archaeological research : Jennifer Clerget, Inrap
Site director : Regional Archaeology Service (Drac Nord-Pas-de-Calais) 
Scientific coordination : Raphaël Clotuche, Inrap
Contact(s) :

Mahaut Tyrrell
Media communication 
Inrap, Media relations and partnerships 
01 40 08 80 24
mahaut.tyrrell [at] inrap.fr

Elisabeth Justome
Cultural development and communication 
Inrap, direction interrégionale Nord-Picardie 
06 73 73 30 33
elisabeth.justome [at] inrap.fr