The first part of this work consists of a general introduction to the settlement history of the canton of Jura from the late La Tène to the early medieval periods. It opens with a brief presentation of the regional geography (chapter 1).
In the second chapter, the probable ethnic identity of the populations occupying the area is discussed. Towards the end of the independent existence of the celtic tribes it probably formed part of the territory controlled by the Sequanes. With the creation of the civitas Rauracorum during the early roman occupation a part of the canton seems to have been transferred to the jurisdiction of the Rauraces. Nothing is known of the fifth century, and the early medieval situation is unclear, as the region seems to have been at the intersection of the Frankish, Burgundian and Alaman spheres of influence.
The current state of knowledge of the local road network during antiquity is described in the third chapter. Little is known about the celtic roads, but it is likely that the roman highways would have followed the same routes, at least as far as the passes or similarly restricted passages were concerned. The continued use of these roads until the 7th century and beyond seems however highly unlikely.
Until recently, only very few traces of local late La Tène settlements were known, consisting - a part from the oppidum of Mont Terri - essentially of stray finds. Recent excavations undertaken in connection with the A16 motorway construction project revealed several hitherto unknown sites. It seems in any case certain that there was a considerable continuity between the indigenous farms of La Tène tradition and the later roman villas. Two larger roman settlements are suspected at Porrentruy and at Delémont. The early medieval occupations are also becoming gradually better known thanks to the recent excavations. Before these discoveries, the numerous cemeteries known mostly since the 19th century have been the only available proof of their existence.
Chapter 5 deals with funeral rites and religious beliefs. The rarity of late Iron Age inhumations - only one example is known - is astonishing. The small number of known roman cemeteries is equally surprising, as numerous villas have been documented. The earliest known temple in the canton is also of roman date: the fanum of Porrentruy. A progressive christianisation can be observed during the early medieval period, when a number of religious establishments and monasteries seem to have been created.
The second part of the publication contains a comprehensive site catalogue. Ordered alphabetically by district, each entry presents a short abstract of the significant discoveries. A thematic index permitting key word searches completes this section.
Translation: Robert Fellner