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Vitis biturica, cépage des Bituriges Cubes ? L’archéologie de la vigne dans le Berry antique

Abstract : This paper aims first to confirm the existence as soon as the 1st century AD of viticulture in the civitas of the Bituriges Cubi. A series of data – pips, pruning-knives, iconographical documentation, regional amphorae – led scholars to consider wine production and trade within this civitas of Central Gaul. The decisive argument has been brought by the two vineyards uncovered during a rescue excavation and dated to the Early Empire, exactly on the outskirts of Avaricum. Secondly in the light of these findings, we'll reconsider the invention of the Vitis biturica as designated by Columella, Pliny the Elder and Isidore of Seville when they report the creation of this new variety of vine. The Bituriges tribe is divided into two branches: the Cubi stayed in the original territory situated between the Loire and the Creuse rivers and the Vivisci settled along the Gironde estuary around Bordeaux. Since the ancient writers didn't give any precise detail, contemporary authors wonder in which region the Vitis biturica has been developed, Berry or Bordelais? Following Camille Jullian, Roger Dion and Roland Étienne all the researchers consider that this prolific vine, adapted to a poor soil, which resists to cool climate, with aging ability as written by Latin authors, must necessarily have been obtained by Vivisci vine growers, being the ancestor of the famous Bordeaux vineyards. However it seems now necessary to look over again this historiographical tradition and to reassess all the documents already collected.
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Françoise Dumasy, Cristina Gandini, Isabelle Bouchain-Palleau, Nadine Rouquet, Jacques Troadec. Vitis biturica, cépage des Bituriges Cubes ? L’archéologie de la vigne dans le Berry antique. Gallia - Archéologie de la France antique, CNRS Éditions, 2011, Dossier : La vigne et le vin dans les Trois Gaules, 68 (1), pp.111-150. ⟨hal-01164345⟩

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