previous next

FURFOOZ Belgium.

The rocky massif of Hauterecenne at Furfooz dominates the Lesse river. In it are numerous caves that were inhabited in the Paleolithic age and served as burial grottos in the Neolithic era. In the second half of the 1st c. A.D. some small baths (15 x 5 m) were built on the mountain slopes, not far from the summit. They consist of a caldarium with hypocaust beneath, a rectangular pool, an apsidal sudarium, and a frigidarium with a semicircular pool. Built far away from any settlement, these baths probably had a religious purpose (lustration?) and some connection with the cult of springs. They were restored around 1957. In the 4th c. the summit of the Hauterecenne massif was made into a fortified keep: earthworks were formed and two walls built to block access to the fort. The few remains found in the redoubt seem to show that it was occupied mostly in the second half of the 4th c. and at the beginning of the 5th. The garrison that occupied it was made up of German soldiers in the service of Rome (probably Laeti), whose tombs have been found. Despite the fact that the baths were still working well when they arrived there, the soldiers destroyed the building to build a few huts at the foot of the rocks, along the banks of the Lasse, and to make a necropolis in the ruins of the baths. Apart from two cremation burials, these are inhumation tombs: the bodies lie between the short hypocaust piers, generally in a N-S orientation (although some tombs face E-W). In one instance, the skull of the deceased, severed from the body, had been placed between the feet. The rich grave gifts found inside the tombs included pottery of the 4th c., glassware, bone combs, an occasional bronze basin, and a wooden bucket with a bronze handle. The military character of these tombs is illustrated particularly by the inclusion of swordbelts with buckles, frogs, and applied ornaments decorated in champlevé enamel (Kerbschnitt), with geometric and animal motifs. Unlike the regular army's dead (as, for example, in the Oudenburg necropolis), the dead of the German auxiliaries of Furfooz were buried with their arms: arrowheads, spearheads, battle-axes, knives. The necropous of Furfooz has proved of major importance in the study of the civilization of the transition period between antiquity and the Early Middle Ages.


A. Bequet, “La forteresse de Furfootz,” Annales de la Soc. arch. de Namur 14 (1877) 399-417; R. De Maeyer, De Oberblijfselen der Romeinsche Villa's in België (1940) 252; J. Nenquin, “La nécropole de Furfooz,” Diss. Arch. Gandenses I (1953)MPI; J. Breuer & H. Roosens, “La cimetière franc de Haillot,” Annales de la Soc. arch. de Namur 48 (1956) 171-376 (see especially the supplement by J. Werner); K. Böhner, “Zur historischen Interpretation der sogenannten Laetengräber,” Jahrbuch d. Römisch-German. Zentralmuseums Mainz 10 (1963) 139-67; S. J. De Laet, “Note sur les thermes romains de Furfooz,” Helinium 7 (1967) 144-49; A. Dasnoy, “La nécropole de Furfooz,” Annales de la Soc. arch. de Namur 55 (1969) 121-94.


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