You are in the trench made by the Gallo-Romans in the hill to control the slope of the road. However, the slope is still quite steep: about 14% on average.
In the middle of the trench, we notice the bulge in the road with, on either side, a ditch meant to drain rain water. The paved road surface, 5m in length, is nowadays badly damaged and destroyed.
It is hard to imagine the colossal work the Gallo-Romans carried out to dig out this trench.
Unlike the Greeks who were not as cunning, the Roman army engineers established straight roads with many devices such as bridges and tunnels on the great imperial roads; their main concern was to reduce the distances.
In our regions, there are not many military roads. Many of the Roman roads more or less follow the old Gallic roads only improving them.
The large roads comparable to our national roads, which link big towns to one another, were financed by the state. The cities paid for the maintenance of secondary roads which cut across the larger ones, whereas smaller roads similar to our lanes were paid for by the local owners as they cut across their lands.
Every “mille” (1480m), on the side of certain big roads, milestones were placed and could reach 1,80m in height without taking into account the plinth. They carried the name of the Emperor who had the road built or repaired, as well as the distance left to cover before reaching the administrative centre of the nearest town. We can admire a great example of a milestone in the museum of Langres which was placed on the Gallo-Roman road from Langres to Naix, to the North of Nogent-en-Bassigny and which was erected under Emperor Nerva in 97AC.
There were also hostels and lodgings along the road so that travellers could take a break or stay the night.
Follow the road to the top of the trench. There, you shall leave the discovery path of the archaeological site, and rejoin the green and yellow markings of the hiking tour on your right hand side.
Before continuing on the path, stop a moment. Imagine this place, 2000 years ago, when the merchant’s carts struggled up the hillside, stopped a moment to breath and admire the noble tomb standing before them.
Your next step will lead you to discover carved boundary markers, visible in the forest.