THE ROMAN VILLA OF SAINT-MARTIN
The roman Villa of Saint Martin was discovered during an archeological search campaign from 1996 to 1999, headed by the Archeological Center of the Var. This Villa lasted for over 9 centuries!
Eight centuries during which several transformations were put to light. 5 different periods between the IInd century BC to 7th century AD. 1st occupation – 100 to 30/20 B.C.: First habitat is primitive. It belongs to indigenous people living in groupsand coexisting with theclose oppidum on the hill.Elements of handcrafts were found what is very seldom the case in that style of habitat. However, the press discovered there is the most ancient one of the Var.
2nd occupation – 30/20 BC. to 80/90 AD. A farm is erected, probably due to Roman colonization because of the material used, like lime and tile, which were unknown to primitive tribes. One can assume that a “colonial” complex – an antique farmhouse – was built by a veteran of the eighth Legion (Augusta), coming from the forum julii (Fréjus). 3rd occupation – 80/90AD.This third phase sees the construction of a very important villa, with a big part reserved to residency, a water basin of 7.5 X 2.5 with gardens around, a portico, thermal baths and richly decorated structures. Some rooms of the villa were richly decorated, with quite a number of different marbles. 4th occupation – 150 AD. to 500 AD. The residential area is now transformed into a farming zone. Three wine-making installations and a hydraulic mill (with an horizontal wheel) for olives modify the aspect of the villa. Saint Martin is the only example of the whole Var to hava had a continuous agricultural wine and olive vocation on such a long period. All plants around are abandonned at the same time as this villa increases 5th occupation – 500 AD to 600 AD.Olive and wine-making activities reduce to leave place for a more rural way of living turned towards cattle breeding (sheeps).