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THE SITE:

Saint-Jean-des-Vignes was founded in the 1070's on a low hill overlooking the medieval walls of the episcopal city of Soissons. The abbey was established as a community of regular canons (priests) living according to the Rule of Saint-Augustine. With noble and episcopal support,the new community thrived, amassing an enormous landed domain during the first seventy-five years of its existence (See Bibliography #10) This revenue base allowed the canons to rebuild their monastery in the thirteenth century and to renew it in the seventeenth, after a period of decline and devastation by Huguenot armies. Incorporated within new city walls in the sixteenth-century, the abbey remained active until the French Revolution, after which it was partially dismantled and became a military base. During the 1970's the site was returned to the care of the Ville de Soissons which maintains it as a tourist site and as the home of the Centre départemental d'Archéologie de l'Aisne and the Centre d'Etudes de Peinture murale romaine, and the MonArch research project.