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Archaeologists recently announced the discovery of a 14th-century castle – complete with moat – beneath a hotel in Vannes, France.

The castle, identified as the Château de l’Hermine, was built in the 1380s by John IV the Conqueror.

It is located beneath the courtyard of Hotel Lagorce.

In a March 26 press release translated from French, the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) explained that the excavations were carried out between spring and autumn 2023.

Archaeologists were shocked by how relatively complete and well preserved the remains of the castle were.

“The excavation revealed little by little the plan of the ground floor: the ducal house, 42 meters long and 17 meters wide (unemployed), is equipped with walls of exceptional thickness,” explains INRAP. A ducal house refers to a house occupied by a duke, which was John IV.

“It is immediately bordered by a moat and is flanked to the west by what may be called a ‘square tower’.”

Researchers also discovered “several” staircases, one of which was “a remarkably preserved staircase, with a decorated core and three steps.”

The Château de l’Hermine was built in the 1380s by John IV the Conqueror. Rozenn Battais, Inrap
Archaeologists recently announced the discovery of a 14th-century castle. Emmanuelle Collado, Inrap

In addition, excavators found dozens of objects “related to daily life in the castle,” including coins, cooking utensils and jewelry.

The humidity of the area has also preserved remarkable wooden artefacts, including fragments of barrels.

“In addition, archaeologists have conducted a deep investigation in the moat,” explains INRAP. “They made rich furniture from this very wet material.”

“The excavation revealed little by little the plan of the ground floor: the ducal house, 42 meters long and 17 meters wide (unemployed), is equipped with walls of exceptional thickness,” explains INRAP. Inrap
Researchers also discovered “several” staircases, one of which was “a remarkably preserved staircase, with a decorated core and three steps.” Emmanuelle Collado, Inrap

Archaeologists even found graffiti-covered tiles, padlocks for furniture and items of clothing.

INRAP also said the site was incredibly well managed.

“The homogeneity of the materials used for the construction of the castle and the standardization of the modules demonstrate a mastery of the management of the site throughout the entire chain of exploitation, from quarrying to its implementation,” the INRAP release said.

“The construction… took place in a single phase, which testifies to the importance of the financial and human resources used,” the statement said. “The remains indicate that John IV knew how to surround himself with the best engineers and craftsmen of his time.”





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