Is Alesia in Jura ?

May 2019
7
France
#1
My English is not fluent enough for me to write this post. So I used the services of "Google translation": an online application of which I see the steady progress. That said, I understand that the result may seem a little odd, so I leave the original French text for readers who might refer to it.

Alise Sainte Reine, en Bourgogne, est considéré par la plupart des universitaires, et aussi par les autorités de l'histoire et de l'archéologie françaises, comme le site de la bataille finale de la guerre des Gaules. Fouillé sous Napoléon III, puis plus récemment par des équipes internationales, le site a révélé un matériel qui montre sans nul doute qu'il a été le lieu d'un siège à l'époque de la conquête romaine. Des monnaies frappées à l'effigie de Vercingetorix et portant son nom y ont été trouvées, ce qui date les vestiges. Un système de deux remparts (circonvallation et contrevallation), portant des tours, est clairement visible sur des photos aériennes. La cause semble donc entendue, mais...

Alise Sainte Reine, in Burgundy, is considered by most academics, and also by the authorities of French history and archeology, as the site of the final battle of the Gallic Wars. Excavated under Napoleon III, then more recently by international teams, the site revealed a material that shows no doubt that it was the site of a siege at the time of the Roman conquest. Coins struck with the effigy of Vercingetorix and bearing his name have been found, which dates the remains. A system of two ramparts (circumvallation and countervallation), carrying towers, is clearly visible on aerial photographs. The cause seems to be heard, but ...

Beaucoup d'analystes pointent que le site ne correspond pas fidèlement à la description qu'en fait César et aux circonstances qu'il nous relate de la bataille. La longueur des remparts est plus faible que ce qu'il indique (échelle 0.6). La distance entre les tours est irrégulière et en général plus forte que ce que le texte précise. Les pentes et altitudes ne correspondent pas à la description, le paysage y étant doucement valloné alors que César décrit des abruts difficiles à escalader par les Gaulois assiégés. Le site est de surface trop réduite et manque d'eau pour accueillir tous les guerriers et la population civile censés s'y trouver. La bataille de cavalerie initiale et le mouvement de repli vers l'oppidum sont difficiles à placer sur le terrain. Stratégiquement, le fait pour Vercingétorix de se retrancher sur cette colline n'a pas de sens : Napoléon Ier, qui avait visité le site, avait émis le jugement que Vercingétorix aurait été un piètre stratège s'il était venu se positionner sur ce site indéfendable.

Many analysts point out that the site does not correspond exactly to Caesar's description and the circumstances he tells us about the battle. The length of the ramparts is smaller than what it indicates (scale 0.6). The distance between the towers is irregular and generally stronger than what the text specifies. The slopes and altitudes do not correspond to the description, the landscape being gently hilly while Caesar describes steers difficult to climb by the besieged Gauls. The site is too small and lacks water to accommodate all warriors and the civilian population expected to be there. The initial cavalry battle and the fallback movement to the oppidum are difficult to place in the vicinity. Strategically, the fact for Vercingetorix to retrench on this hill does not make sense: Napoleon I, who had visited the site, had issued the judgment that Vercingetorix would have been a poor strategist if he had come to position on this indefensible site.

De nombreux autres sites alternatifs ont été proposés. Beaucoup l'étaient de manière fantaisistes et n'ont pas résisté à l'examen. Un seul site est sérieusement envisageable aujourd'hui. Il se situe dans le Jura, à Chaux des Crotenay, près de Champagnole. Non seulement ce site correspond exactement à la description de César, mais le choix de ce lieu par les Gaulois pour s'y retrancher aurait été fort avisé de la part de Vercingétorix. En effet, César était en mauvaise posture à la fin de l'année 52 av JC, obligé de faire retraite jusqu'à un territoire allié, celui des Allobroges, poursuivi par une coalition de tribus gauloises. Passer par la vallée de la Saône aurait été risqué, le gros des troupes révoltées faisant mouvement vers l'est depuis le Morvan (Bibracte). La route la plus sure pour lui était d'emprunter le passage médian du Jura, par Champagnole, Morez, les Rousses, avant de redescendre sur le lac Léman à Nyon. Vercingetorix aurait tenté dans un premier temps de lui barrer le passage à Champagnole, perdant cette première bataille, et venant se réfugier dans l'oppidum de Chaux des Crotenay, qui barrait la route vers l'est. César mit le siège par une circonvallation, se protégea de l'arrivée d'une armée de secours par une contrevallation, et on connait la suite.

Many other alternative sites have been proposed. Many were fanciful and did not resist the exam. Only one site is seriously conceivable today. It is located in the Jura, at Chaux des Crotenay, near Champagnole. Not only does this site correspond exactly to Caesar's description, but the choice of this place by the Gauls to retreat would have been very wise from Vercingetorix. Indeed, Caesar was in bad shape at the end of the year 52 BC, forced to retreat to an allied territory, the Allobroges, pursued by a coalition of Gallic tribes. To pass by the valley of the Saone would have been risky, the bulk of the revolted troops making movement towards the east from the Morvan (Bibracte). The safest route for him was to take the median passage of the Jura, by Champagnole, Morez, Les Rousses, before descending on Lake Geneva in Nyon. Vercingetorix would initially have tried to block the passage to Champagnole, losing this first battle, and coming to take refuge in the oppidum of Chaux des Crotenay, which barred the road to the east. Caesar laid the siege by a circumvallation, protected himself from the arrival of a rescue army by a countervallation, and we know the rest.

Beaucoup d'objets d'époque romaine ont été trouvés sur le site de Chaux des Crotenay et autour. Des fouilles datant de la fin du XIX° siècle ont mis en évidence sur la commune de Chatelneuf un fossé et un mur de protection d'un fortin, entre les pierres duquel des pointes de projectiles en métal ont été trouvées, ainsi qu'un résidu d'un foyer de combustion important. D'autres objets ont été trouvés sur les emplacements présumés des remparts. Des traces de travaux de fortification sont visibles (fossés, etc. ) ainsi que de pièces de bois et divers objets métalliques sortis du sol par les agriculteurs locaux. On voit même encore aujourd'hui des traces de double fossés sur des photos aériennes, y compris sur celles de Google Earth. On aura bien plus de détails sur ces diverses trouvailles sur le site (en français) d'une association qui promeut les recherches historiques et archéologiques : ArchéoJuraSites

Many objects from the Roman period were found on the site of Chaux des Crotenay and around. Excavations dating from the end of the nineteenth century have highlighted in Chatelneuf district a ditch and a protective wall of a fort, between the stones of which metal projectile points were found, and a residue a large combustion fireplace. Other objects were found on the alleged sites of the ramparts. Traces of fortification work are visible (ditches, etc.) as well as pieces of wood and various metal objects taken out of the ground by local farmers. Even today we can still see traces of double ditches on aerial photos, including those of Google Earth. We will have more details on these various finds on the web site (in French) of an association that promotes historical and archaeological research: ArchéoJuraSites

Je suis membre de cette association. Je vais assez souvent sur place. Mes recherches personnelles portent sur le double rempart. Les hypothèses que je fais sur son emplacement correspondent assez exactements aux longueurs citées par César. J'ai personnellement constaté les traces de certains travaux de terrassement en liaison avec ce rempart. Je pense que je peux proposer l'emplacement de la bataille finale, au nord de la contrevallation. Un endroit magnifique, où le sort de l'Europe s'est joué en une demi-journée. Aller sur un lieu qui domine ce champ de bataille, avec le "de bello gallico" en main, est une expérience que je recommande. Si des lecteurs de ce forum sont intéressés, je peux aider à organiser une visite sur place, en arrangeant des commodités pour le séjour et en servant de guide. Je pousse l'association à accueillir des visiteurs du monde universitaire anglophone, pour leur présenter le site. Si des professeurs ou étudiants intéressés par le sujet me lisent, qu'ils se manifestent.

I am a member of this association. I go often to the site. My personal research is on the double wall. The hypotheses I make on its location correspond quite exactly to the lengths quoted by Caesar. I personally noticed the traces of some earthworks in connection with this rampart. I think that I can propose the place of the final battle, at the north of countervallation. A beautiful place, where the fate of Europe was played in half a day. Going to a place that dominates this battlefield, with the "de bello gallico" in hand, is an experience I recommend. If readers of this forum are interested, I can help arrange a site visit, arranging amenities for the stay and serving as a guide. I urge the association to welcome visitors from the English-speaking university world, to introduce them to the place. If professors or students interested in the subject read me, let them manifest themselves.
 
Jan 2015
3,538
Australia
#2
The official site is probably not the actual site, it's just politically sensitive. Napoleon was just keen to have it found and didn't do a rigorous search for it, but once he made that site "official" it gave people a vested interest in refusing to accept it could be otherwise. Imagine the tourist dollars that would vanish for local towns if it was no longer the official site. Academics have suggested another much more viable site in recent years, which seems to more plausibly fit the account of it.
 
Likes: Matthew Amt
May 2019
7
France
#3
@Caesarmagnus : you are right concerning the big €€€ involved now in tourism in Burgundy. For the french academic world, though it is more or less dependent on state credits for living, I think that the "paradigm effect" is the real reason for them to deny that there could be another site for Alesia. Once you know that everybody around you shares a common belief, few people are strongly minded enough to "think out of the box". There are some academic who follow the work of the associations in Chaux des Crotenay, but they are very careful : kind of lurkers... I have met some. One academic is engaged in the fight to have this site recognized : Danielle Porte, a retired professor of latin at the Sorbonne. As she is not a specialist in archaeology, in history, in geography of the Gauls, in ancient polemology, she has not a large credit in this affair and is more known for her taste for verbal discussion, which is not always the best way to make things advance.
 
Jun 2019
3
Worcester,Ma. U.S.A
#4
Without question the current commercially stated site of the Alésia battlefield
Has been. A lie going back more then 2 centuries to appease a Napoléon . I have read and reread all documents , and looked at Google earth s geographic location
And Burgundy has no heights ,or water to sustain. Over 100,000 people
And the Romans’ diverted the River to create another defensive obstacle.in Burgundy
As a military fortification. It just is not there . The 75 Million Euror’s to build the museum
And tourist attraction presents a huge problem to admit they are wrong would be
A disaster to their credibility. I hope they get permission from the government to prove
This. Since I have been at the Jura location .I may bring my metal detector next time for 2 weeks and be my own detective, this is a shame how the French government can be so closed minded to the truth. The Biggest ancient battlefield in Europe being kept silent . Their should be a petition The French people ,and the world deserves to know the truth !
 
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May 2019
7
France
#5
@Dallas2122
As a military fortification. It just is not there .
Y
ou are wrong. There is a fortification in Alise, but it's at scale 0.6 under Caesar's datas, and the towers are irregularly spaced with a greater distance beetween them than Caesar wrote it. The fortification line can be seen on aerial photos.

Since I have been at the Jura location .I may bring my metal detector next time for 2 weeks and be my own detective,
This is strictly forbidden in France. Be very careful, it could cost you a huge fine. If you want to come again, contact me and I will let you in touch with some land owners and you will see what they have found.
 
Jun 2019
3
Worcester,Ma. U.S.A
#6
Hello Crazy story. Chaux des Crotenay I have several roman artifacts that I got in 2006
That the British museum confirmed that these ballista shafts and several arrow points carbon dated by a friends 3 samples confirm date line . Some building designs in all battles
Are altered or rebuilt as needed. Only a fraction of a 1% has been researched and excavated. The French government has to at least allow a complete research. I went back in 2012 .my friend is from France and we had paid land owners and agreeed to split if any hordes of coins were found ,which I am certain there is Vercingétorix wound have buried
Gold or silver before a major battle, to come back to retrieve at a later date and at least 30 coins from them was found by 4 others that were with me at least 4coins were from the time period before the battle were identifiable and they have in their possession. . My most prized possession is a ballista pin to hold a cloak or cloth, and a 22k Gold 20mm shield that a legionner wasgiven after a privious battle that was wore around the neck. If you give me your email I will send you a few pictures.i still have at least 12 items in the UK friends have been holding .,also major water ways were diverted and over 2 ,000+ years things have changed it would take years
To do a 10 kilometer excavation . My friend went back and was told that several government officials told several land owners they recommended to not allow Anyone permission unless they had a archaeology permit dated and stamped back in 2014. Which tells me the Government knows more then they are saying., and I was told from several sources ,private digs with groups of 15-20 were seen on the upper north side for well over a month with Ground penetrating radar back around 2014 This I find alarming . My sourses live not far from the area
And Roman cooking utensils as well as 2 coins dated 54 bc , to the north west side .i purposely marked several trees upper limbs , and the scale of fortifications does match in some areas ,but odd in others in towers depending on the land scape. Several stim I were found also, Multi sided spikes to slow and cripple horses ,the hills are much more steep then in The Burgundy government version of Alésia. ,and a much better fortification
And larger open area . Untill the French government does the right thing ,then this
This goes no where fast. This is a major historical site ,no matter what the conclusion .
 
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May 2019
7
France
#8
I know this text. In my opinion, there is a scientific flaw at it's basis : the archaeologist who defend the theory "Alise = Alesia" consider the "De Bello Gallico" as an historical text. They thus believe that there is ONE site of battle corresponding to THE battle of Alesia described by Caesar. I'm convinced that this is false : there were TWO battles and there is now TWO archaeological sites. This mousetrap has been created willingly by Caesar. Remember that he could not go back to Rome, during two years after Alesia, fearing to be sentenced : he could do it only with his legions, when he crossed the Rubicon. The crimes for which he could have been indicted were to have fought two peoples who were allies of Rome : the Aeduans and the Sequanes. Alise Ste Reine is on the border of the Aeduan territory, next to the Lingons. Chaux des Crotenay is on the Sequanes territory. We can imagine that when the siege of Alise Ste Reine ended, there were violences against the civilian population. At Alesia (Chaux des Crotenay), the civilians trapped with Vercingetorix were left to die of starving between the two lines. Caesar could not write the history as "we succeeded in two sieges, one against an Aeduan city, one against a Sequand city" : this would have been recognizing his crimes ! Thus Caesar first reduced the number of sieges from two to one, playing on the toponymy, as probably the two sites were considered as an "Alesia", a common gaulish term (for "oppidum" or "sacred place" according to various interpretations), and inducing the readers of the DBC to think that "the" battle took place on an ennemy territory, thus the "Mandubians" invention. There is still now a place where the people call themselves the "Mandubiens", it's Mandeure, a village near Montbéliard. Of course archaeologist can show as "proofs" all the materials that they found in Alise, which prove that there has been a siege, around 52 bc. The problem is the asymetry of the research efforts beetween the two sites. One is officially subsidised, published, made credible. The other is left to local erudits, with few financial power. But... I should write "was", this is changing. A vast aerial survey, with lidar, is now under way. For having walked on the site, seen a lot of artefacts which correspond to the description of the Siege in the DBC, seen by places the trenches, the ramps for calvalry charges, the traces of the roman encampments, I'm convinced that very soon the site of Chaux will be recognized as one of the two sites (described as only one) by Caesar. All the rest, scientists calling the other party with some "bird names" is just a matter of making fun : kind of fight beetween Gaulish tribe members, in the "Asterix" mode. Do your search from your country, with Google Earth, and you will find, as I did, the two parallel trenches in some places near Chaux !
 
Jun 2019
3
Worcester,Ma. U.S.A
#9
Very well put crazystory. As i mentioned in a earlier email ,several people I have been involved with have found several artifacts and Roman coins dated at or before 52bc.
Chaux des Croteney will be vilified once the politics of France can be objective
And have true extensive research. if in fact Alise is the wrong battleground
Then so be it. Artifacts were planted there back in the 1800s to appease the Government.
That is my viewpoint and from several other researchers And views of maps.
 
Jan 2011
1,048
FRANCE
#10
1- Well, if future research proves that there has been a battle in Chaux, we will see... But at present, there are no proofs for Chaux.
2- The idea of a second battle is really creative! If de Bello Gallico is not an historical text, then the arguments saying that the site of Alise Sainte Reine doesn't correspond to Caesar's description doesn't have a basis (your first message). You cannot consider the text as historical only when it fits your theory.
3- You say that Alesia is a common Gaulish word. It is not. We don't know if "Alésia" comes from "alisier" (the tree) or from a word that would have meant "rock", but it is surely not a common word. Do you have an example ?
 

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