The Monuments of Serrières

The name Serrières (today a district of the city of Neuchâtel) derives from the Latin word serra, saw, which in ancient times denoted a place with many sawmills. The town lies on the shores of Lake Neuchâtel. This region was already inhabited in prehistoric times and the centuries before the Roman occupation (15-13 BC).

The Roman villa of Serrières was discovered in 1908 during the construction of the houses of the cité Suchard, the world’s first chocolate multinational. The complex was located on the banks of the lake (the level of the lake was lowered by metres in the 19th century).

The lake’s richness in fish and the Region of the Three Lakes network (the lakes of Neuchâtel, Biel/Bienne and Morat/Murten) and the river Aare explain the presence of a Roman settlement and a huge villa.

Excavations in 1908, the Chocolat Suchard factory is visible. 

The other Roman buildings are on the hillside. The layout of the baths was determined mainly by the height of the heating systems (praefurnium/a) to produce hot water, which circulated in the floors  (hypocauste), gradually cooled and left the building into the lake and the small river Serrière.

This village was still inhabited in the Merovingian period (6th-7th century). There was a small church and a cemetery. More than 200 graves have been discovered.

The Carolingian church of St Jean from the eighth or ninth century also points to permanent habitation, centuries before the foundation of Neuchâtel and Peseux, unlike medieval Cormondrèche and Corcelles and Gallo-Roman Auvernier and Colombier.

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