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14th century wheeled watermill discovered in northeastern France


Low-cost housing projects are planned to be built near the Union d'Ars-sur-Moselle cinema, but history has decided to delay the work. Preventive archaeological excavations, which began in April, have revealed a wheeled watermill dating from the 14th century.

14th century wheeled watermill discovered in northeastern France
View of the medieval watermill unearthed in Ars-sur-Moselle, Grand Est, northeastern France
[Credit: Pierre Thillot/France 3 Lorrain]
The first written records of this building date back to 1614. However, according to archaeologists, the mill is much older.

"It is of medieval origin. It belonged to the Cistercian abbey of Saint-Benoît en Woëvre," explains Gilles Rollier, operations manager at INRAP.

14th century wheeled watermill discovered in northeastern France
Archaeologists excavating the medieval watermill in Ars-sur-Moselle, Grand Est, northeastern France
[Credit: Pierre Thillot/France 3 Lorrain]
"It dates from the 14th century and is part of a series of eight mills installed near La Mance. This one had three wheels, the notches of which are still visible, and initially produced flour."

Archaeologists have also found fuller bolts, a device used to soften fabric, indicating that the mill was later used for textile manufacture.

14th century wheeled watermill discovered in northeastern France
A slot through which a wheel shaft passed [Credit: Pierre Thillot/France 3 Lorrain]
In 1830, the mill was engaged in making  pasta and noodles. By 1870 the mill had disappeared and a farmstead took its place.

The excavations are expected to be completed in early July.

Source: France 3 Lorrain [June 26, 2018]

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