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A large archaeological zone has been found in the region defined by the modern villages of Howardries, Bléharies, Hollain, Tamtignies, and Rumes (province of Hainaut), in the SE part of the civitas Nerviorum, S of Turnacum (Tournai). In Roman times it was essentially industrial. Excavations there, however, have never been systematic, so that it is not yet clear whether the zone was a vicus or an area of dispersed settlement. Dwellings have been noted and excavated at Taintignies, Hollain, Bléharies, and Rumes. Some of these were heated by hypocausts. At Bléharies a well has also been excavated.

The most interesting finds, however, are industrial remains. Numerous potter's kilns, excavated at Howardries and Taintignies, were in active use mainly during the second half of the 1st c. A.D. A tile-maker's kiln has been excavated, also at Howardries. Important remains of an ironworks have been discovered at Howardries and Taintignies. At Howardries gutters for washing the iron ore have been excavated. Among the most interesting discoveries are iron artifacts of local manufacture (pieces of carts, tools, knives, picks, gravers), thousands of sherds coming from dumps, and a bronze statuette of a household god. A leveled barrow was excavated at Rumes. The funerary chamber, with slabs of stone from Tournai, had been pillaged.

All these industrial establishments were destroyed during the invasions of the Chauci under Marcus Aurelius. After this period the industrial activity of the region slackened greatly. Three hoards of coins were found at Howardries. The first two were buried around A.D. 263, the third around 268. They indicate that the region was ravaged a second time during the invasions of the Franks in the second half of the 3d c.


M. Amand, “La romanisation du Tournaisis,” Annales de la Fédération arch. et hist. de Belgique 36 (1955) 155-66; id., “Contribution à l'étude de la voirie antique au sud-ouest de Tournai,” Hommages à W. Deonna (1957) 49-58; id., “Fouille d'une habitation d'dpoque romaine à Taintignies,” Latomus 17 (1958) 723-30; id., “Nouveaux aspects de la romanisation en Pévèle belge,” Hommages à Albert Grenier (1962) 104-20; M. Thirion, Les trésors monétaires gaulois et romains trouvés en Belgique (1967) 97-99.


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