Treasures of the Rhone
Photographers Remi Benali and Patrick Landmann have spent 10 weeks working with Luc Long and a team of archaeologists and divers who have been excavating the Rhone River. The Roman Treasures that they have found, unseen for 2000 years, include a marble portrait of Julius Caesar, the only carved while he was alive, a gold-leaf statue of Victory and a bronze captive awaiting his death sentence. All are considered to be chefs d’oeuvres by the French Ministry of Culture and can be seen now at the Musée Départemental de l’Arles antique.
The city of Arles was established by the Greeks as early as the 6th century BC and acquired the profitable status of a Roman Province after Julius Caesar distributed the land among his veteran legionaries in 46 B.C. This was the first Golden Age of a city dubbed « Little Rome in Gaul ». Its wealthy port on the Rhone River was the gate between the Mediterranean world, Gaul, Germany and England. Arles possessed a number of monuments, including an amphitheatre, triumphal arch, Roman circus and an impressive Arena. In 395, it became the seat of the Praetorian Prefecture of the Gauls, governing the Western Empire, which included Spain and Brittany. In 1981, the Roman and Romanesque buildings of Arles were listed as UNESCO World Heritage monuments and its historic center in 2006.
The Rhone River still has many mysteries to divulge and archaeological research is planned for many years to come.