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Archaeologists discover fascinating 640-year-old castle and moat under a hotel in France

They also found several staircases, one of which was a 'remarkably preserved staircase, with a decorated core and three steps.'

Archaeologists discover fascinating 640-year-old castle and moat under a hotel in France
Cover Image Source: YouTube | INRAP

When archaeologists find tools and human inhabitants thousands of years old, it often makes us wonder how life would have been in that era. Recently, archaeologists discovered a 14th-century castle under a hotel in Vannes, France, and were shocked to find the remains intact. As reported by Indy100, they uncovered it under the courtyard of Hotel Lagorce.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Documentaries Ly
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Documentaries Ly

The castle was confirmed to be Chateau de I'Hermine, over 600 years old and was reportedly made in the 1380s by John IV the Conqueror. This ancient structure was found after the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) conducted excavations between the spring and autumn of 2023. INRAP said in a press release, translated from French, "The excavation revealed little by little the plan of the ground floor: the ducal house 42 meters long and 17 meters wide (out of work), is endowed with walls of an exceptional thickness." 

They also discovered many staircases, one of which was a "remarkably preserved staircase, with a decorated core and three steps," according to The New York Post. The archaeologists also discovered things that were part of their daily life. It included coins, jewelry, cooking utensils like pots, drying pans, etc. They all could be traced back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Moreover, due to the humidity in the place, wooden things like bowls and barrels were all found in good condition. "In addition, archaeologists conducted a deep survey in the moat," INRAP explained. From this very wet material, they extracted rich furniture," along with items like pins, clothing or shoe buckles, slabs covered with graffiti, etc.


The archaeologists were quite amazed to find that the remains of the castle were well-preserved. "Directly bordered by a moat, it is flanked to the west of what one can call a 'square tower.'" Researchers also noticed how well-managed the construction was. "The homogeneity of the materials used for the construction of the castle and the standardization of the modules show a mastery of the management of the site throughout the operating chain, from the extraction of stone to its implementation," the INRAP said.

According to the researchers, the state of the structure shows that it was built in a single phase and represents the financial and human resources used for the construction. "The remains indicate that John IV knew how to surround himself with the best engineers and craftsmen of their time." The researchers believe there were three to four floors of the house as there are a set of toilets and drainage pipes related to the upper level.


It was a medieval feudal state during the 10th to 16th century and the Duchy of Brittany was ruled by several hereditary dukes. John IV came to power in 1365 and built many house-fortresses throughout Brittany, a village on the west coast, per Live Science. The Chateau de I'Hermine was one of Duke Jean IV's favorite houses and was "used intensively" for less than a century. Later, his grandson, Francis IV, moved the capital of the Duchy out of Vannes. In the 18th to 20th century, renovations turned the place into a hotel, then a law school and then government offices were built on top of the castle.


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