ANR MAGI - Manger, boire, offrir pour l’éternité en Gaule et Italie préromaines

Archaeology of the funeral offerings of organic products in the Celtic, Etruscan, Italic and Punic cultures (VIth s-Ier s BC).

Dernière modification : 10 novembre 2016

The Celtic, Etruscan, Italic and Phénico-punic cultures did not leave us literary sources concerning the funeral rites. Their knowledge is allowed thanks to various iconographic, epigraphic and especially archaeological approaches which were gradually organized with the contribution of the new developments of the archaeology funeral.


By Dominique Frère}}

Program presentation

The archebotanic and the archeozoology supply fundamental data on essential constituents of the rite : the bloody and non-bloody sacrifice (the biological offerings in graves and their immediate environment). Due to their nature, more visible than seeds and fruits, the animal bones were very early studied in funeral context. On the other hand, the presence of rests of plant food, carpet of flowers, coniferous substances or incenses, determined thanks to micro and macro rests is more delicate to bring to light. It’s the same for residues preserved in recipients.


Besides, hardly few studies were realized on the non-bloody offerings in the frame chronological geography chosen. A large-scale analysis on the nature and the reasons of the deposit of biological offerings been lacking totally. Harmful situation, at first by the wealth of information that this type of studies brought for Roman period to the knowledge of the rites for simply a decade and then because the methods of investigation are reliable and easy to implement. On the other hand, an important category of funeral offerings remains mostly invisible for the archaeologists ; the amorphous organic materials, produced solid or fluids contained in recipients which, by anthropological action and natural phenomenon(fall of the vase in the grave, intervention of sediments, chemical change in time) seems to have totally disappeared.


Chemical and genetic technics allow to identify the original materials from their chemical markers or from fragments of sequences DNA, partially preserved. The appeal to these technologies is still relatively rare. Indeed, the obtaining of positive and exploitable results depends on numerous parameters that the archaeologists cannot always master ; only an interdisciplinary work can guarantee the relevance of the studies.


The objective of the program MAGI is to set up an interdisciplinary approach combining various methods of excavations, takings and analyses of the visible and invisible rests of organic products preserved in the grave.
At first, a stratigraphic excavation of the whole grave but also inside of the recipients combining size grading, sieving and macrophotocrafic shots will on one hand allow to encircle the nature of the various coats observed and on the other hand to select the takings for identifications of the botanical and ichthyologic rests.
Secondly, will be selected, if necessary, materials and recipients (by the invisible impregnations of their walls) for physico-chemical and genetic analyses allowing the precise identification of the residues and contained.


This combined, crossed and treated on a hierarchical basis approach of the various methods and the techniques will be possible thanks to the collaboration of eight teams of research and a wide panel of complementary disciplines. It will allow to exploit at best the archaeological, biological and mineralogical data of the contents of the archaeological recipients, in a frame of collaboration pluri-and interdisciplinary.
Three seminaries will be organized as well as a colloquium of the end of program presenting all the results.
The MAGI program will give rise to three publications (the acts of the colloquium, a catalog of exhibition and an on-line database), to a workshop of doctoral formation in Rome (French School of Rome : it will concern the potentialities and the limits offered by the botanical, zoological, chemical and genetic analyses of the organic products), two workshops of specialist training (the one in France in Mont-Beuvray, the other one in Italy in Naples) addressing the professionals of the archaeology, and the exhibition in the museum of Lattes.

Organismes partenaires :

ANR - Agence Nationale de la Recherche AOrOc - UMR 8546-CNRS/PSL ASM, ’Lattes’ -UMR5140 Archéologie des Sociétés Méditerranéennes, Lattes Centre Jean Bérard - USR3133, Naples Laboratoire Nicolas Garnier, Vic-le-Comte