1845: The Port of Marseille Ancient Tunnel or the Vieux-Port Tunnel?

Found the below article saved up in one of my SH-1 days folders. Nothing came out of it back then. The piece is talking about some ancient tunnel that was allegedly "cleared" shortly prior to 1845. Here is my take on the below article:
  • 1. There were rumors about the existence of the tunnel. They kind of knew that it existed, but it's written like they did not know where it was.
  • 2. They did not really know who built it, but assumed that ancient Romans did.
  • 3. The tunnel was in "nearly perfect preservation".
  • 4. It was a 60 foot wide single arch tunnel.
  • 5. It was 25% longer than the Thames Tunnel allegedly built by Brunel between 1825 and 1843.
    • 1,300 feet (396 meters) + 25% = 1,625 feet (495 meters)
  • 6. The tunnel was between one of the towers of Fort Saint Nicholas(star fort) and the parish of Saint Victor.
  • 7. The tunnel was built at the "mouth of the port" and went under the "deep sea".
1845
tunnel-marseille.jpg

Source
I tried to find any our contemporary information about this tunnel, but was unable to. Chances are, I used wrong key words. Below we have our two objects connected by this ~1600 foot subterranean passage:
As you can see, we have approximately 950 feet from center to center. It would be interesting to figure out where additional 700 feet could be hiding at.

map2021.jpg

Map

We have the following older plans of the port of Marseille:
I'm not sure I can figure out even the direction of this tunnel. If we use the description provided in the article, there is only one direction we can have.
  • The tunnel was built at the "mouth of the port" and went under the "deep sea".
That direction should cross the port of Marseille south to north.

map2021-1.jpg


At the same time we are being told that the tunnel went from Fort Saint Nicholas to the parish of Saint Victor. If this parish of Saint Victor is the same as the Abbey of Saint-Victor, I'm not sure it makes sense.
  • There clearly is no "deep sea" there.
  • The distance is not adequate.
Below we have a map of the Port of Marseille dated with 1840.
  • I marked (blue) an approximate length of our phantom 60 foot wide 1,625 foot long "antient" tunnel going in the direction that would make sense.
1840
1840-map.jpg

Source

At the same time, when we look at the below 1575 map, Fort Nicholas and the Chapel of Saint Victor (K) are on the opposite sides of the port.

k-1.jpg

(F) also has something to do with Saint Victor. I marked it just in case. It's on the opposite side of the port (from Fort Saint Nicholas) as well.

1575-map.jpg


Considering that the above-mentioned 1845 article was produced when the St. Victor place was on the same side with Fort Nicholas, it still does not make sense, but here is where it gets interesting.

The Vieux-Port Tunnel
The Saint-Laurent tunnel or tunnel of the Old Port of Marseille (The Vieux-Port Tunnel) is located in downtown Marseille near the entrance to the city's former commercial port, now a marina.

Tunnel_du_Vieux-Port.jpg

Source
  • It connects the north and south shores of the port and in fact the north and south districts of the city.
  • It is in fact made up of two tunnels - East and West - with two lanes each and reserved for light vehicles.
  • Its length is 600 meters (1,968 feet).
  • In the 1960s, Marseille was already experiencing endless traffic jams.
  • The municipality then imagines the construction of a tunnel under the old port to relieve traffic congestion.
  • Work began in 1964 . The tunnel is inaugurated on December 17 , 1967.
The idea of building a tunnel connecting the north and south shores of the Old Port appeared in the early 1960s, a period when the streets of Marseille were increasingly congested. This achievement was seen as a way to avoid going through the quays of the Old Port to go north and thus ensure a better connection between the two sides of the city.
  • The construction of the tunnel was spread over 35 months, between 1964 and its inauguration on December 16, 1967.
  • The work was directed by Georges Lacroix, director general of the technical services of the City and engineer of the bridges and roads. From the start, the latter alerted the municipality that the site would be of a "scale hitherto unknown in an urban site" , as shown in the brochure of the time published here.
A very particular construction technique:
  • The tunnel is in fact made up of two juxtaposed tubes separated by an interval of one meter, the best way to meet the technical constraints of the site.
  • And to interfere as little as possible with navigation in the Old Port during the work, Georges Lacroix decided to prefabricate the underwater structures in the fairing basin. "The company's facilities have to be content with cramped spaces, which leads to adopting an original solution and using as a work and prefabrication area the bottom of the fairing basin previously dried and fitted out", we can read.
Source: The construction of the Saint Laurent tunnel which connects the two shores of the Old Port

tunnel-width.jpg

Map

I don't think that Bassin de Carénage was considered to be the Old Port back in the day. It does not look like a "deep sea" to me. Than again, who knows?

small-x.jpg


1663
1663 marseille.jpg

Source

???
In the process of working on this article (just now), I've run into the following rebuttal. Now I'm twice as suspicious of this entire Old Port of Marseille tunnel saga.

1845
1845-tunnel.jpg

Source
Note: In the above rebuttal they are talking about a tunnel connecting Fort Saint Jean and Fort Saint Nicholas.

1840
1840-map2.jpg

Source
Note: In the above rebuttal they are talking about a tunnel connecting Fort Saint Jean and Fort Saint Nicholas.


KD: If you know what tunnel they discovered around 1845, please share some links.
  • Did we build the Vieux Port Tunnel, or the "ancient Romans" did?
  • If you find some decent Vieux Port Tunnel construction photographs, please share those as well.
 

Jinxy

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According to the construction of the new tunnel I found this.

Vieux-Port Tunnel.jpg

Georges Lacroix, the man who sank the tunnel of the Old Port

I am not so convinced that Louis xxvv -the maniest built this fort around 1550 and then they demolished it because "it frightend the people" (?) and Napoleon built a castle near it with the name Palais du Pharo

It is weird, because they totally exploit the Roman constructions in that area for tourists.

I also found this really strange photo about the church around there and (surprise.... )

A 1906 Exhibition Coliniale...
 
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    I also found this really strange photo about the church around there
    I did not even think about looking at Marseille as a whole, for the tunnel had to come from a corresponding level of technology. There is definitely something about Marseille.

    The building in your photograph is the Notre-Dame de la Garde.
    notre-dame-de-la-garde.jpg

    statue-11.jpg
    • It was built on the foundations of an ancient fort at the highest natural point in Marseille, a 149 m (489 ft) limestone outcropping on the south side of the Old Port of Marseille.
    Ancient Fort?
    fort-n-g.jpg

    Source

    And below is... The Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde funicular

    Funiculaire de Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde-4.jpg
    • Commissioned in 1892, it was closed in 1967 and destroyed in 1974.
    AscenseurViergedelagarde.jpg

    It's not that far from the tunnel either.

    map.jpg

    Tons of images of this area are available here.
     

    Banta

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    In the process of working on this article (just now), I've run into the following rebuttal
    Heh, where did you find that, in a dictionary next to "hand-wave dismissal"? The original article cites actual people with names, the follow-up just says "they." Mr. Brockedon could have been asking the local baker, for all that article says. I tried to do a search on "Philip N. Brockedon" and there's no direct information, but his name appears in a lot of these types of publications, talking about various Roman artifacts and it seems, through context, that he was affiliated Royal Archeological Institute, established in 1844 (so they were pretty hot on this tunnel business). The Royal Archeological Institute, formerly known as the British Archeological Institute, also seems to be affiliated in some way with the British Archaeological Association (established in 1843), as they started The Archeological Journal which the Institute took over in 1845. In case anyone was wondering though, that's not the journal where KD clipped out the tunnel assertion and "retraction" from, that's the journal of the American based Franklin Institute, established in 1824. Everybody got that? There will be a "know your controllers" quiz at the end of the semester!

    I tried to find more on this engineer Joyland and the architect Matayras, but aside from the story of their discovery, I can't seem to find any record of them (first names would probably be helpful). This story was picked up by several journals, here's another account:

    tunnel2.JPG

    tunnel3.JPG

    Source

    So, there they even outline the timeline and cite that they were working for "two hours and twenty minutes", which I guess we're supposed to think was all a "rumor" or "misunderstanding." I may try and search for some more construction photos later, but I don't expect to find anything beyond what @Jinxy posted. This seems like a fairly straightforward cover-up... kind of worried about what happened to Mr. Joyland and Mr. Matayras, to be honest. They clearly hadn't gotten memo on how to proceed with "ancient Roman ruins" and probably thought their discovery would be welcomed.
     

    Jinxy

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    Yes that funiculare is really like... Oh. A bunch of dirt, hmmm let's make this easy.
    Heh, where did you find that, in a dictionary next to "hand-wave dismissal"? The original article cites actual people with names, the follow-up just says "they." Mr. Brockedon could have been asking the local baker, for all that article says. I tried to do a search on "Philip N. Brockedon" and there's no direct information, but his name appears in a lot of these types of publications, talking about various Roman artifacts and it seems, through context, that he was affiliated Royal Archeological Institute, established in 1844 (so they were pretty hot on this tunnel business). The Royal Archeological Institute, formerly known as the British Archeological Institute, also seems to be affiliated in some way with the British Archaeological Association (established in 1843), as they started The Archeological Journal which the Institute took over in 1845. In case anyone was wondering though, that's not the journal where KD clipped out the tunnel assertion and "retraction" from, that's the journal of the American based Franklin Institute, established in 1824. Everybody got that? There will be a "know your controllers" quiz at the end of the semester!

    I tried to find more on this engineer Joyland and the architect Matayras, but aside from the story of their discovery, I can't seem to find any record of them (first names would probably be helpful). This story was picked up by several journals, here's another account:

    They clearly hadn't gotten memo on how to proceed with "ancient Roman ruins" and probably thought their discovery would be welcomed.
    Is your tunnel the same as this one? Scroll down for the text.
    • It is hard to read in translated French.
     
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    I love these technological mismatches. This is at the bottom of the 1892 funicular.

    AscenseurViergedelagarde1.jpg
    There will be a "know your controllers" quiz at the end of the semester!
    Lol, that's a good one. 100% agree, there are too many details rumors normally do not have.
    Is your tunnel the same as this one? Scroll down for the text.
    Sounds like the Marseille part is about a canal, and the well they cleared was in Aix-en-Provence city.


    The Old Port area is somewhat weird.
    • The Marseille transporter bridge, inaugurated in 1905 and destroyed in 1944, was a crossing of the Old Port of Marseille, designed by engineer Ferdinand Arnodin.
    • The bridge of Marseille was built in nineteen months to connect the quays of the Port and the quays of Rive Neuve.
    • It was inaugurated on 15 December 1905.
    • In the 1930s, it served only as a decoration, due to the lack of means to maintain it.
    • On 22 August 1944, the German military blew up the bridge to block the port during the liberation of Marseille, but only the north tower fell into the water.
    • The rest collapsed on 1 September 1945, following the firing of 400 kg of explosives.
    • Source
     
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  • Jinxy

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    That bridge 😍 It is indeed a different canal but still a superior piece of construction.

    But I found almost similar "news" about the tunnel, almost:
    Do notice the usage of the words:
    "... powers of ancient practice..."
    " ...to dispute the triumphs of the present..."


    Almost like an uncomfortable recognition that the current people are thrown backwards in knowledge.

    But I can't ignore the constant comparision with the Thames Tunnel.

    That needs another topic. I don't even know where to start with this official website :
    1828, a dinner, in an underground, onderwater tunnel, that recently was almost demolished by water leaking in, with portable gas chandeliers (besides the invention of gas chandeliers itself in early 1800: carbon monoxide?? **)
    and as a cherry on the pie, the painter made an instant Rembrandt-like painting from the scene. Almost as if he used a photocamera.
    O wait, and the "inventor" of the tunnel.
    mr j* Brunel himself, did not attend this dinner.
    * Isambard : with iron hammer in Nordic. Really strange name for a British inventor of (iron?) bridges: With Iron hammer Kingdom Brunel.

    ** That brings me to this book about ventilated pyramids and, off course, mr Brunel went on holiday to Egypt.
    Just like all these people in 1800, from Napoleon to the Emperor of Brasil.

    Also do notice that the Thames Tunnel just like the Marseille tunnel goes from a church toward, what looks like a fort (now London Docks).

    I think that besides the money they could not get out of such French Roman tunnels in Marseille (because no-one claimed it as a profitable investment) a random find of a tunnel made by superior Romans found by unimportant people who started digging on their own expenses also did not fit the heroic British (/American) superiority on this subject.

    This Brunel guy was larger than life. What did he not invent?

    Screenshot_20210731-114120.jpg
     
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    That bridge 😍 It is indeed a different canal but still a superior piece of construction.
    As far as I understand, this is the mouth of the same Old Port in Marseille.
    We probably have a couple:
     

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