Malain (Mediolanum)

In the wilderness, just off a crossroads in the countryside in Burgundy, stands a little visited Roman site, open to all at all times and generally untended. Mediolanum, near the modern village of Malain, was founded in 70 AD in the lands of the Aedui (see Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars for more infor on THAT tribe.) The town grew to become a sizeable trade centre, importing wine from far afield as attested by amphorae from the site, via navigable rivers connected to the Saone and therefore the Mediterranean.

The site covers a reasonable area, but only a portion of it has been consolidated and is truly visitable. That consists mainly of a long street with workshops, stores and houses leading off both sides. You can drop down the hill a little and visit the rear of some buildings. The main area is preserved beneath a shelter and is really very interesting and well-conserved. Between there and the road some buildings and streets are discernable within the grass, too, and at the end of the site are overgrown walls and ruins.

There are no grand public buildings here, but as a small commercial site it is still of surprising interest. There is something peaceful about wandering around the site in such a peaceful, unspoilt rural area, and you would be very unlucky if you didn’t have the site to yourself.

Remains: 2/5    Atmosphere: 4/5   Access: 3/5    Overall: 3/5

Author: SJAT

Most of my stuff's on the 'About Me' page. Suffice it to say I'm a writer of Historical Fiction, a teenager trapped in a fat middle aged body, a lover of animals, very happily married, with dogs who think they're human and children who think they're dogs. I'm a pseudo-Buddhist, a rock-fan and amateur crocodile-juggler. Oh and a part-time liar.

2 thoughts on “Malain (Mediolanum)”

  1. So glad to see that Malain is now a site people can visit and actually see the Roman ruins. I worked on the excavations in 1985 and had no idea they had progressed this far. I think there was also a villa in the vicinity. It was a lovely place to stay while we worked on the site for a couple of weeks. Thank you for cataloguing this!


    1. Superb. Must have been a fascinating place to excavate. Certainly a lovely and atmospheric place to explore. Wish I’d had more time in the area.


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