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Castle From 1380s With Moat Found Under Hotel In France

Archaeologists recently uncovered a 640-year-old castle, complete with a moat, beneath a hotel in Vannes, France. The Château de l’Hermine, built by John IV the Conqueror in the 1380s, astonishes with its remarkable preservation and provides valuable insights into medieval history.

Emmanuelle Collado / National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research
A variety of medieval coins were discovered at the excavation site. Photo: Emmanuelle Collado / National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research
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Archaeologists have unearthed the remnants of a 14th-century castle beneath a hotel in Vannes, France. The astonishing discovery sheds light on the historical grandeur of the region, with the castle identified as the Château de l’Hermine, built by John IV the Conqueror in the 1380s.

Located beneath the courtyard of Hotel Lagorce, the castle was uncovered during excavations conducted between the spring and autumn of 2023, as detailed in a press release from the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) on Mar. 26.

Archaeologists were stunned by the remarkably well-preserved state of the castle's remains. The excavation gradually unveiled the ground floor plan of the ducal house, spanning an impressive 42 meters in length and 17 meters in width, adorned with walls of exceptional thickness. The presence of a moat surrounding the structure, along with a 'square tower' to the west, underscored its defensive design.

A medieval moat was also discovered by archaeologists
A medieval moat was also discovered by archaeologists
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Among the discoveries were several staircases, one notably well-preserved with decorative elements and three steps intact. Additionally, a plethora of artefacts offering insights into daily life within the castle were found, including coins, cooking utensils, jewellery, and even fragments of wooden barrels, remarkably preserved due to the area's humidity.

Excavators delved deep into the moat, yielding a treasure trove of furniture and miscellaneous items. Noteworthy finds included tiles adorned with graffiti, furniture padlocks, and remnants of clothing, painting a vivid picture of life within the castle walls.

Remarkably, the site's management reflected a high level of organization and skill. The uniformity of construction materials and standardised modules attested to meticulous planning and execution. The castle's construction, completed in a single phase, highlighted the substantial financial and human resources dedicated to the project, demonstrating John IV's ability to enlist the finest engineers and craftsmen of the era.

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