Roman aqueducts of Barbegal
© Fondation du patrimoine_MyPhotoAgency_Alexis Marizy

Roman aqueducts of Barbegal

Historic site and monument

The aqueducts and mills of Barbegal were a complex work of two parallel aqueducts, leading drinking water to the city of Arles from the Alpilles and also made turn the mills that could produce flour for "Arelate".

The aqueducts, remains of which can still be seen near the Barbegal mill, are a diversion of the 'De Caperon', aqueduct which channelled water from the southern slope of the Alpilles. The construction techniques used for the section before the mill differ from those observed on the route of the Caparon aqueduct.
Fernand Benoît had originally dated this construction to the 4th century AD, connecting it with the spread of Christianity and the increasing scarcity of the slavery it would have entailed. However, research carried out by the CNRS and the University of Provence in the 1980s refuted this hypothesis and dated the construction of the complex to the 2nd century AD. The columns are built from small stones, although some of their bases consist of large reused blocks; the arches are also made of small blocks, supplemented with brick. However, this system can also be found from time to time along the course of the aqueduct on the southern slope, particularly on the section parallel to the aqueduct that supplied the mill. This leads us to believe that the mill was constructed at the same time as a campaign was carried out to restore the hydraulic network. These two wonderful vestiges are unique in Europe and are 2 km from the centre of the village.

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