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METTET Belgium.

A Gallo-Roman villa in the vicinity of Bauselenne. The ruins were badly disturbed in the Middle Ages during the construction of the neighboring abbeys of Fosses, Brogne, and Oignies. Much of their building material came from the villa. In spite of this, excavations have yielded the plan of the villa and its subsidiary buildings. The central building, of the same type as the villas of Maillen-Al Sauvenière, Maillen Ronchinnes, and Jemelle, is rectangular and ca. 90 m long with two porticos that extend along the entire length of the NE and SW facades; a series of rooms open onto these porticos. The rooms had concrete paving and some were heated with a hypocaust. Apparently, these were the residential quarters. Two walls extend the lateral facades and enclose a garden with a pool in the middle. Against the NE wall of this garden was a rectangular building that opened onto a second enclosure and probably served as a stable or sheepfold. On the other side of the residential quarters, to the S, a series of buildings arranged around a third rectangular enclosure included a complete bath building, an ironworks, a stable, and barns. A portico that extends along one side of the brewery is built as an exact prolongation of the SW portico of the dwelling. The whole complex covers an area of ca. 10 ha. The villa was provided with water from springs located more than 2 km away. The water, brought by an aqueduct, poured off into five successive pools located some distance apart from one another along the whole length of the aqueduct. The conduits of the aqueduct were largely underground and were sloped to render the flow as regular as possible.

In spite of the disturbance of the site during the Middle Ages, the finds indicate the prosperity of this farming estate. The walls of some rooms were covered with slabs of native, French, and Italian marble. The beginning of the villa goes back to the first half of the 1st c. A.D. It probably suffered under Marcus Aurelius during the invasions of the Chauci in 171-74. It resumed operation, however, and lasted until ca. 270 when it was pillaged during one of the invasions of the Franks. The site was not reoccupied in the 4th c.


R. De Maeyer, De Romeinsche Villa's in België (1937) passim, esp. pp. 99-103 & 195-200P; id., De Overblijfselen der Romeinsche Villa's in België (1940) 273-80.


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