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Completing the history of Goudourville Castle using dendrochronology

LA DEPECHE DU MIDI - 28 December 2021

Château de Goudouville - datation des charpentes
The expert Corentin Olivier with Geneviève Mifsud under the frame of the castle. Photo DDM, Didier Gaubert

Dendrochronology: behind this seemingly barbaric term lies a particularly valuable technique for archaeologists, the dating of wood. Geneviève Mifsud, the owner of Goudourville Castle, is currently using this discipline to complete the still incomplete knowledge of the building and its history.

Geneviève Mifsud already has a certain knowledge of the history of the Château de Goudourville. It is on the list of historic monuments that are open to participatory donations on the Fous de patrimoine website of the Vieilles Maisons Françaises foundation. However, for this enthusiast with a visceral desire to bring her building to life, some mysteries remain.

What do you know about the castle to date ?

The church of Goudourville and the first owners of the castle are mentioned as early as the 11th century. The "castel de Godorvilla" is mentioned in 1278 in the customs granted by its lord Ségui de Gasques. It was a castrum, a fortified estate with lands, held by a knight with judicial, fiscal and military powers.

However, there are no explicit documents about the place. Many questions remain open about the families who owned it and the modifications made by each of them. Hence the idea of using dendrochronology to date the wood.

What do you expect from this scientific study ?

The castle has been extensively altered throughout its history, and even recently. On the Napoleonic cadastre drawn up between 1808 and 1839 in Tarn-et-Garonne, the building was twice as large. Today, only two large buildings remain.

According to Gilles Séraphin, building archaeologist, "this study of the roof structure would make it possible to date the work and its nature; to learn about technical developments in roof construction in the South-West, particularly towards the 15th and 16th centuries, and to overcome the difficulty of accessing writings or archives in this field.

This operation benefits from financial assistance from the Direction des Affaires Culturelles (DRAC) Occitanie to enrich the knowledge of the monuments of the South-West, from the Occitanie region within the framework of the tourism relaunch plan and from the EU, via the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) programme contributing to the enhancement of tourism and the local development of rural heritage.

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