EGU General Assembly 2021 – 19-30 avril 2021

Th. PIAU – Methodological proposal for the inventory and assessment of geoarchaeosites

  • European Geosciences Union [vEGU21]
    Engage • Discover • Inspire

19-30 avril 2021
en virtuel [vPICO]

EGU21-143 – Session GM12.8 – Visages of Geoheritage
30 avril 2021 – 15:37 CEST
Methodological proposal for the inventory and assessment of geoarchaeosites: Application to the middle Eure valley (Paris Basin, France)
by Théophile Piau, François Bétard, Fabienne Dugast

Abstract

The concept of “geoarchaeosite” has been introduced by Fouache & Rasse (2009) to identify archaeological sites located on a geomorphosite. In this work, we propose to use the expression in a larger sense as a contraction of geoarchaeological sites, i.e. sites of particular relevance for the understanding of past human-environment interactions. In our approach, the geomorphological and archaeological components of a site have the same level of importance, contrary to the classical approaches on geomorphosites which consider the archaeological interest of a site as an “additional” value. Although scientific literature replete with scattered case studies on geoarchaeosites, methodological guidelines are globally lacking to inventory and assess a collection of such geoarchaeosites for heritage conservation and/or tourism purposes.

The aim of this presentation is to propose an innovative and integrated methodology for the inventory and assessment of geoarchaeosites at a regional scale, with an example of application in the middle Eure Valley (Paris Basin, France). The first stage is the inventory which implies the identification and selection of potential geoarchaeosites considered as important sites worth being protected or managed within tourism or education projects. Two main criteria are involved in the selection process: the selected sites should be both representative of the regional geomorphological setting (spatial axis) and of the archaeological periods (temporal axis). The second stage is the assessment, itself divided into three main steps: (i) the assessment of the scientific value, calculated as the sum of the geomorphological and archaeological values; (ii) the assessment of the conservation need, including the calculation of a “vulnerability index” taking into account the intrinsic fragility of the site, the natural and human-induced threats, and the protection status; (iii) the assessment of the promotion potential, which combines the scientific and additional (cultural, aesthetic, ecological) values together with the visit conditions and potential uses for education and tourism.

In the middle Eure Valley which serves as a case study, the preliminary results derived from the proposed methodology provide a selection of geoarchaeosites with contrasted scientific values, from sites of international (e.g., Saint-Prest, Chaudon) and national rank (e.g., Chartres Cathedral and its historical quarry, Aqueduc of Maintenon) to more confidential geoarchaeological sites of regional (e.g., megalithic site of Changé, Fort-Harrouard) and local interest (e.g., Shrine of Bû, Mormollins mill), with various degrees of vulnerability. Among the prospects that are emerging in the scope of promotional activities, is the interest of building a digital geoarchaeoheritage platform with a collaborative/participatory aim, associating Websemantics and geomatic technologies, in order to reinforce heritage ownership by local residents and stakeholders.


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