- 16 Jun 2006
- Olympic News
It had been rumoured in the past that under the Château de Vidy was a cemetery, then a church (when the IOC headquarters was extended to the west, numerous relics had already been found), but we did not know that the discoveries made recently, during excavation work for the construction of a new complex in Vidy, would surprise even the archaeologists.
Archaeologists at work
Today, it is no longer the cranes and excavators that are digging and turning over the earth between the château and the modern annex. They have been replaced by a handful of archaeologists with measuring tapes, picks, shovels, vacuum cleaners, buckets, brushes, scrapers and paintbrushes, often kneeling on the earth, looking for clues. And, as for clues, there are bucket-loads of them – literally!
A Roman port, then a church and its cemetery
On the Vidy site, during the Roman era (the level of the lake was much higher at that time), there was a port building complete with rip-raps, pontoons and warehouses. A little later, a large building was constructed, whose walls and roof remains have just been discovered. In the Middle Ages, a church and its cemetery stood there. No fewer than 80 tombs have been found, the oldest dating from the end of the Roman period, and the newest probably from the 16th century. Additionally, pottery, pitchers, fibulas, coins and other domestic accessories are being found every day, and are carefully listed. These objects will be added to the collections of the nearby Roman Museum, also in Vidy.
Research financed by the IOC
The International Olympic Committee is financing the archaeological work. The IOC has even delayed the construction programme of its new multi-functional centre in order to safeguard these relics, which belong to Lausanne’s heritage. After all, who knows if one of the Roman skeletons, whose sleep has been so abruptly disturbed, was not present at the Games in Ancient Greece, when he was still alive.