W. de Clercq
W. van Neer
C. van Driel-Murray
J. van Heesch
- De dubbele waterput uit het laat-Romeinse castellum van Oudenburg (prov. West-Vlaanderen): tafonomie, chronologie en interpretatie
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR)
This article focuses on a remarkable well structure that was brought to light by the Flemish Heritage Institute during recent archaeological research at the south-western corner of the Saxon Shore fort at Oudenburg (2001-2005). The site of Oudenburg is situated 8 km from the Flemish coastline, in the polder area between Bruges and Ostend. During Roman times however, positioned strategically on an elevated sandy ridge, the site overlooked the coastal plain consisting of mudflats and marshes intersected by natural gullies. The remains of the fort at Oudenburg were discovered in 1956-1957 by J. Mertens
later excavation campaigns in 1960 and 1970 on the western defence area revealed a sequence of three successive forts. The 1960s excavations on two late Roman military cemeteries more than 400 m to the west of the castellum revealed burials of 4th-century fort inhabitants with rich grave goods. During archaeological research within the fort walls in 1976-1977 the first information was collected about the inner organisation of the fort and the remains of a stone building of late 3rd-century date were excavated. It was only in 2001 that new excavations could take place on the fort area. This systematic research resulted in a finer chronology for the occupation of the castellum. A succession of five main fort periods was revealed, dating between ca. 200 and the beginning of the 5th century AD. These excavations yielded insight into the spatial organisation of the south west area of the fort, which had different functions in each successive fort period. The first three phases belonged to wood and earthen forts
temporary installations in times of trouble and Germanic threat. Probably in the later 3rd century AD, a more permanent fort measuring 153 by 176 m was built in stone
this was renovated and reoccupied during the second quarter of the 4th century AD. The characteristics of the ground plan, its topographical position and several finds pointing to a close link with the Saxon Shore forts on the coast of south Britannia, suggest that Oudenburg was probably part of the Litus Saxonicum. In this paper the so-called double well, a context of the fifth fort period (4th century-beginning 5th century), is analysed. During this period the south-western area of the castellum was dominated by a stone bath building with hypocaust system. Later in the 4th century, long fences were constructed to divide the area into yards, a timber-framed construction with simple plan may be identified as a stable structure, and a large oak basin was probably a reservoir for drinking water. The double well, which received feature number OS 2562, seems to be a key context for this fort period.
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