Roman period. – Archaeological research is of particular importance in Switzerland for reconstructing the aspects of life and civilization in the country about which references to ancient authors are so rare, and excavations have intensified more and more in recent years in many places. On the plateau the administration of the territory of the Elvezî was transformed in 73 d. C. with the foundation in the capital, Aventicum (Avenches), of a colony of veterans (Colonia Pia Flavia Constans Emerita Helvetiorum Foederata). The plan of this new city has been recognized within its vast enclosure. A temple was excavated on the axis of the theater preceded by a courtyard surrounded by arcades, which formed a large monumental complex with the theater itself. The golden bust of Emperor Marcus Aurelius was discovered there in 1939, a precious and important local work from the end of the century. II d. C. Excavations in the amphitheater have clarified the plan.
Two vicissitudes of Roman Helvetia have been more widely explored. In Leusonna (Vidy) a commercial district along the lake has come to light, and the numerous discoveries that have revealed docks, deposits, inscriptions with the mention of nautae, offer interesting evidence of the trade that was carried out by river routes from the Rhone to the Rhine. through Switzerland, on the prosperity that ensued for the country (sealed pottery, a treasure of 72 gold coins from the first half of the 2nd century AD were found) as well as on the variety of cults, documented by bronze statuettes of Mercury, a bas-relief by Jupiter Taranis, dedications to indigenous Romanized deities, a sistrum. To Vindonissa (Windisch) the plan of the legionary camp has expanded with the discovery of new military buildings: hospital, barracks, arsenal; and new fragments of inscribed tablets were found. The leather objects, recovered in large numbers from the camp waste, have been scientifically studied.
Excavations carried out in Zurich (Lindenhof) have shown the existence of a Roman settlement. Many late period forts (castella) have been explored. Interesting mosaics have come to light in the Roman villas scattered in the countryside.
New discoveries also occurred in the two colonies founded by Cesare and L. Munazio Planco at the ends of the Swiss territory. In Nyon (Colonia Iulia Equestris) decorated architectural blocks were found, a bust of Giulia Domna, a large mosaic. In Augst (Colonia Raurica) two new spa buildings were excavated and the theater restored; interesting researches have been made on the orientation of the checkerboard plan of the city. In the Valais (Vallis Poenina) the prosperity of the town was linked to the transit on the Via del Gran San Bernardo, the frequency of which is attested by the discovery of bronze ex-votos on the top of the hill. In the capital of Martigny (Forum Claudii Vallensium), from where the miliarians counted the distances, a marble statuette of Venus came to light and the regularity of the city plan was found. In Saint-Maurice the series of Latin inscriptions has been enriched with a dedication to Caio Cesare and a new mention of the Statio Acaunensis quadragesimae Galliarum, from which the abbey of Agaune took its name. Important vestiges of primitive churches have come to light and a new interpretation of a famous ancient treasure vase has been reached.
In Geneva, whose name Genua mentioned by Caesar must be accepted in this form, archeology has provided an interesting commentary on the first chapters of the Bellum Gallicum: the wooden pillars of the bridge cut by Caesar in 58 BC have come to light. C., and, near the village of Avully, the indisputable remains of the fortifications which he had established along the Rhone to block the way to the Helvezî. In the upper town, the remains of the Gallic citadel guarding the passage of the river were discovered, as well as those of the praetorium from a late period, protected by a reduced wall.
Recent studies on the characteristics of Roman art in Switzerland confirm the conclusions that can be drawn from the complex of these discoveries: the general and beneficial influence of Roman culture on the development of the country and at the same time the persistent vitality of beliefs and traditions. indigenous.