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RIJSWIJK S Holland, Netherlands.

Site between The Hague and Delft, occupied by a civilian settlement covering ca. 3.5 ha from the 1st to the 3d c. A.D. The site lies behind the dunes in what is now Polder. Before the Roman period and after the end of the 3d c. A.D. the area was too wet for habitation, but in Roman times it was densely populated in spite of having no dikes and being exposed to flooding. About 3 km farther N lay a large township (probably Forum Hadriani), near which a Roman milestone has been found. The Fossa Corbulonis, the canal dug by Roman troops from the Meuse to the N branch of the Rhine, must have run not far from the settlement.

Excavation has provided information on the Romanization of the local inhabitants, the Cannanifates. The basic dwelling in the settlement was the tripartite wooden house (20-38 x 5-7.5 m), typical of habitations along the North Sea coast as far as Denmark. As a rule the house was divided into a living area with a fireplace and a stable, both distinguished by a characteristic grouping of roof posts and entrances. In the last phase of the occupation, in the 3d c., the most important house was rebuilt in wood and stone according to Roman technique, but retaining the traditional local ground plan. A number of rooms were built entirely in stone, a material not available in the area which was brought from the Eifel and the Ardennes. These rooms were also decorated with wall paintings. In this period also the simple native granaries were replaced by two larger granaries raised on 3 or 4 parallel foundation trenches (9.4-11.6 x 6-10 in). In the 1st c. the two or three houses of the settlement were scattered in the open country, in the 2d c. four centers of habitation were grouped in a square and surrounded by a wide ditch, and in the 3d c. the ditch was connected with a system of ditches that covered at least 25 ha. This area was probably pastureland for livestock. The numerous animal remains from Roman times indicate that animal husbandry was the chief means of subistence. There is some imported Roman pottery, but local ceramics are strongly represented. This pottery is closely related to the so-called Frisian ceramics of N Holland.


J.H.F. Bloemers, Nieuwsbull. Kon. Ned. Oud. Bond (1968) 94-95; (1969) 40-42; (1970) 35-37; id., “Nederzetting uit de Romeinse tijd bij Rijswijk,” Spiegel Historiael 4 (1969) 402-6.


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