Archaeologists have unearthed a full Merovingian settlement complete with church and burial ground in Pontarlier, eastern France. Grave goods including weapons and jewelry indicate the settlement was a prosperous one, not a sleepy pastoral village.
It was strategically located near the village of Pontarlier, formerly the ancient waystation of Ariolica on the Roman road between modern-day Orbe, Switzerland, and Besançon, France. Pontarlier became even more important after the Burgundian invasions of the 5th century as a key trading center linking Burgundy’s territories to Switzerland, German and Lombard northern Italy. It was also the only reliable pass over the Jura Mountains well into the 17th century. […]