Archaeological notice board of the Goddess Rosmerta
This archaeological billboard with illustrations is available to download: Cartel-Rosmerta.pdf.
Known from Roger Agache's aerial photographs and the discovery of artefacts in the fields, the Dompierre-sur-Authie site was excavated under the direction of Daniel Piton in the 1990s. The religious vocation suggested by the organisation and layout of the buildings, of which only the foundations remained, was verified. It soon became apparent that the Gallo-Roman temples had succeeded an earlier place of worship, marked by the deposit of numerous offerings, and that a certain continuity of religious practice could be assumed.
During the first excavations, the discovery of an inscription on the remains of the base of a statue provided a name for the deity worshipped there. Rosmerta was one of the Celtic divinities that the Romans assimilated and Latinised (she became the wife of Mercury and is usually depicted as a matron holding a cornucopia). This 'interpretatio romana' gradually erased the memory of the original attributes of a divinity that the Celts had left us no representation of. This alone underlines the extreme importance of the discovery made this year, when excavations resumed under the supervision of Sophie Verger.
Beneath the deposits of offerings previously studied by Daniel Piton, a favissa (ritual pit) was unearthed, containing a statue that predates the Romanisation of the site. Rosmerta is depicted in the form of a plump bear nursing two cubs.
This formidable find also allows us to reinterpret elements from the first excavation. The zoomorphic decoration on some of the complex buckles left as offerings is now perfectly understandable: the attachment hook is a stylised representation of Rosmerta's head.