The villa of Pardigon encountered its occupation and its major developments between the 1st and 3rd centuries after J-C and was abandoned at the end of the 15th century after J-C.
The first phase of discovery resulted in a total reconstruction in order to create a villa in the late 1st century after J-C. Successive aggrandings and modifications followed, intervening until the 3rd century after J-C.
The villa during the Lower Roman Empire
The second phase marks a complete restructuring of the villa during the 4th century, with the abandonment of the spa wing. This set opens on the central courtyard, then adorned with a rectangular plunge pool, while three vats, of which only the funds have been preserved, are arranged in the main body of the villa, indicating its transformation at least partial, in a farming area. A new and more modest spa complex was built in the buildings of the villa. A tile kiln was built in the south, outside the buildings. The villa was definitely abandoned in the 4th century after J-C.
The Merovingian period
The ruins of the villa were very partially re-occupied during the 7th century. A large fireplace was installed in a room near the southern courtyard with characteristic furniture made of patterned ceramics, mostly pots. The site was deserted for centuries.
The Medieval era
During late Middle Ages, the villa was exploited as a quarry of building stones and limestone. An oven was dug in the southern part of the villa, whose retaining wall was pierced with a hole and the excavated soil used to build a heating chamber. 14th century ceramics found close to the heating chamber bear witness of the period, with the use of kiln.
Purchased by Pierre et Vacances in the 1980s, the estate was to be the submitted to a Concerted Development Zone for tourism. Thanks to the action of local environmental protection associations, the site has been protected since 2009. It is owned by the Conservatoire du Littoral since 2013.
In 1895, the Customs’ Administration, built a station on the actual site of the Roman villa. Its foundations strongly damaged the roman remains and are still visible today. The 400 m² , one storey building also had an underground cellar. In 1906, no less than 23 people, of which 10 customs officers, lived in the station, that replaced those of Cavalaire and Le Vergeron. Only 6 officers were left in 1926 and the station will definitely be shut in 1935. Late 1943, les Germans will destroy the station in regards to their defense campaign of the coast and prevention of landings.
The site of Pardigon has been known as Boutigo since the early 19th century. The 1832 Var Directory indicates the discovery of a dozen Roman coins. In 1895, a barrack of the customs’ administration was built on the same location, leading to other archaeological discoveries. From 1983 onwards, the threat of destruction caused by a golf course project, resulted in excavations undertaken by the Regional Department of Archaeology on the one hand, and the Var Archaeological Documentation Center associated with the Groupement Archaeological of Cavalaire on the other hand.
The operations were of three types :
first, soundings, secondly a rescue search and finally a planned search. These operations focused on two sites, : Pardigon II and Pardigon III, both villas of Roman times, 500 meters apart from each other. Three salvage campaigns took place from 1984 to 1986, followed by three planned excavations between 1988 and 1990.Archaeological excavations made it possible to clear a sector of the residential part of the Gallo-Roman villa as well as a small but very damaged portion of the agricultural part to the north. The site has a long history of successive times of occupation from early 1st century before J-C to the 7th century after J-C, followed by occasional occupation in the Middle Ages (lime kiln), finally ending in the 19th Century with the construction of the customs’ barrack. The Gallo-Roman villa was established on a slight eminence formed of consolidated alluvial deposits (pebble beach of ancient formation, possibly Tyrrhenian, about 120 000 years ago). It is now bordered on the south by a pond, dug by the archaeological dig, which reactivates according to the seasonal rainfall.
The Conservatoire du Littoral, with the help of the local authorities, plans to carry out crystallization works to allow the public to approach the site more closely.
The process consists in stabilizing the walls of the Roman period and partially backfilling the parts most damaged by time, in order to preserve them.The creation of a footbridge, above the site, would enable visitors to discover the site more closely, without damaging it.