previous next

ELEWIJT Belgium.

A Gallo-Roman vicus N of the civitas Nerviorum on the Namur-Baudecet-Rumst road. It is on the boundary between the sandy Campine province and the more fertile Brabant, at the spot called Zwijnbeer, a hill to the N of the modern village. Excavations show that the vicus covered an area of some 27 ha. Important finds of Roman antiquity have been made since the 17th c. and many amateurs have carried out scattered excavations. An undisturbed section of the vicus was systematically excavated in 1947-53.

There were three periods of occupation. The earliest clue is the mark of a rectilinear ditch, which has been traced over 60 m. Its profile is V-shaped, as is characteristic of Roman camps. This camp (Augustan?) was just a temporary one, and the ditch was very soon filled in. The vicus started to grow during the reign of Claudius when a large part of the road network of N Gallia was built. At that time Elewijt was linked by road to the vicus of Asse and also to Bavai. It was half rural and half industrial. Traces of an ironworks have been found there, along with a potter's kiln that produced everyday pottery in the local tradition. In the 1st c. A.D. the buildings were still of wood and of wattle and daub. They were gradually replaced by stone structures, of which a cellar still remains. It was at that time, no doubt, that a sanctuary was built, dedicated to a divinity that was patron of horses (this same divinity had another sanctuary at Asse). At Elewijt, as at Asse, a whole series of statuettes of horses was found, made of white Allier pottery. The thymiaterion used in this sanctuary was also discovered, and part of the foundations of the structure may have been unearthed in the course of excavation. Potsherds of terra sigillata, of which a great many have been found, show that the vicus had trade links with S and central Gallia as well as with the E and the Rhineland.

Toward the end of the 2d c. the settlement was almost completely destroyed. It was rebuilt on an entirely different plan: thereafter the houses were oriented on a NW-SE axis. A large building, erected in the middle of the vicus, had several rooms, heated by hypocaust and walls decorated with friezes. A number of wells date from this period. It is not known how the vicus disappeared. It may be that it was ravaged during the invasions of the second half of the 3d c. In any case there are few traces of the 4th c. In the 19th c. the necropolis of the vicus was located at the section called Heidendries, but little is known about it.


F. Vaes & I. Mertens, La céramique gallo-romaine en terre sigillée d'Elewijt (1953); J. Mertens, “De Romeinse Vicus te Elewijt,” Handelingen van de Kring voor Oudheidkunde van Mechelen 47 (1953) 21-62PI; M. Desittere, Bibliografisch repertorium der oudheidkundige vondsten in Brabant (1963) 45-48.


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: