In the general context of provincial Roman art, the Narbonne province (present-day Provence) occupies a very particular position, whose center Narbo Martius (Narbonne) was the first colony of Roman citizens beyond the Alps. centuries penetrated a vivid reflection of Hellenic culture through the ancient Greek trading post of Massalia (Marseille). The reflection of Hellenistic art has now been better documented by archaeological excavations. The new excavations carried out in Marseille on the occasion of various works in the city have provided further data for the topographical knowledge and for the history of Marseille: the city included two districts, the acropolis and the lower city, reserved for commercial activity; the two districts were separated by an east-west artery, decumanus romano. The excavations, currently in progress, have in particular revealed stretches of fortification with a door and two massive towers and a paved road, cisterns and a dock equipped with a stone quay for the supply of ships. The stratigraphic study of this dock will show the evolution of the port from the Greek to the Roman era. The commercial activity of the port in Roman times is also attested by the number of horrea recognized on the coast of the lower city, for a front of 400 m. The center of the region was, it has been said, the ancient Narbo or Naro, for which literary sources attest the importance since the 6th century BC, now confirmed from the first relatively systematic excavations, even if not complete. Ancient Naro, capital of the Elysian kingdom, has been securely identified with the oppidum of Montlaurés, 4 km from the town where the Roman colony was built, which took back its indigenous name. Research and excavations have been carried out in recent decades in many areas of the province: in Arles, aerial photography has allowed a study on the centuriation of the city and a chronological revision of the urban layout; in Glanum (Saint Rémy de Provence) it was possible to clearly distinguish the succession of three phases, and the recent studies carried out on the monuments helped to establish the date of the temple of the god Glan, of the Matres Glanicae and Valetudo at 39-38, while between on the 35th and 25th the construction of the mausoleum of the Julians takes place. Underwater archeology has also revealed, and is continually revealing, a considerable amount of material showing the existence of trade currents between the Italy and southern Gaul.
According to EHEALTHFACTS, this fact has been known for a long time, but the excavations of the last few decades have greatly advanced our knowledge, also creating a series of problems relating to the classification of the new material. This consists mainly of the so-called bell ceramics and the wine amphorae and, to a lesser extent, the olive oil of the last centuries of the republic (submarine deposit on the island of Pomègues, opposite Marseille, etc.). Intense relations between Marseille and the indigenous peoples characterized, in the last decades before the Roman conquest, the region from the Maritime Alps to the Rhone. The results of the excavations carried out in the center-sanctuaries of Entrémont, Roquepertuse, Fontaines Salées and in the oppida of Ensérune, Vienne, etc. The examples of local limestone statuary discovered in the Entrémont sanctuary, destroyed by the Romans in 123 BC, re-propose the problem of this type of plastic, in which some recognize elements of the Greek cultural tradition, others underline the indigenous matrix. The Ensérune center has been the subject of a detailed study; in the light of recent excavations, three stages can be identified, in the last of which the settlement becomes an oppidum and reveals a civil architecture based on Greco-Roman models. In Vienne the excavations of 1967 made it possible to establish, through the study of pre-Roman traces, the limits of the Gallic city; this reveals the existence, in the 4th century BC, of commercial relations with the Hellenistic world, which took place through Marseille and the Rhone valley. Excavation campaigns conducted at Fontaines Salées have uncovered a sanctuary of indigenous springs whose origin must go back to a pre-Hallstatt installation. Beyond the particular situation of the Narbonne area, in the other districts of Gaul that correspond to today’s France (Aquitaine and part of Lugdunense and Belgica) the artistic production that followed the Romanization of the country took on completely characteristic forms, absorbing the lingering elements of Celtic civilization. Also in this case urban centers and artistic production have been amply documented by the new excavations, which have allowed, for example, to definitively clarify the topographical development of Lutetia Parisiorum (Paris), where precise traces of the Gallic occupation emerged during the refurbishment work at Notre Dame; in Lugdunum (Lyons) the odeon, the theater, the temple of Cybele, the forum were brought to light, and the excavation of the amphitheater of the Tres Galliae resumed; so also in Burdigala (Bordeaux), etc. The latest excavations have confirmed the originality of Gallo-Roman architectural manifestations in France. After the affirmation of the Hellenistic-Roman technique and style, the indigenous tradition gradually found a way to express its style. The most demonstrative case is certainly that of the Celto-Roman temple, of which numerous examples were already known. Gallo-Roman sanctuaries of the square or octagonal cell type and columned gallery have come to light in Champallement, Belbèze en Comminges and Allonnes. Even in private architecture the houses have certain original features. This is confirmed by the country villas found in recent years, those of Montmaurin, Roquelaure, La Papinière, etc. which, while welcoming the luxury of the Roman villa, show on the façade, as a structural feature, two wings joined by a porticoed gallery and in the back a large common room. As for the ceramic industry, the excavations carried out in Bauchéporn have brought to light a an extremely important workshop that seems to begin under Claudius and where, in the Flavian era, a new group of master-potters headed by a Saturnino appeared. The master potters Saturnino and Satto also directed the Chémery and Mittelbronn workshops at the beginning of the 2nd century. Recent excavations have brought to light a workshop of considerable importance in Geurgon, with a production period from the 2nd to the 4th century, and several workshops in Leroux, in Central Gaul, dating from the Tiberian age.