2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (22–25 October 2006)

Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 3:45 PM


WOODS, William I.1, YOUNG, Bailey2, VERSLYPE, Laurent3, HUDSON, Paul F.4, LEROY, Ines3, DEFGNEE, An3 and MEYER, Donald W.5, (1)University of Kansas, Department of Geography, Lawrence, KS 66045, (2)Eastern Illinois University, Department of History, Charleston, IL 61920, (3)Centre de Recherches d’Archéologie Nationale, 3, avenue du Marathon, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, (4)Univesity of Texas at Austin, Department of Geography and the Environment, Austin, TX 78712-1098, (5)Rock River Laboratory, Inc, 710 Commerce Dr, Watertown, WI 53094, wwoods@ku.edu

In the village of Walhain, about 40 km southeast of Brussels, stand the ruins of a feudal fortress attested since the twelfth century. The fortified sector is still dominated by a round tower, the original core of the site; to the south, beyond the now-dry moat, lies the outer bailey area, a flat terrace bordering on the west a marshy stream valley. It was hypothesized that this had been the center of the medieval agricultural estate that archaeological features would be well preserved under the pasture which covers this part of the site today. Initial excavations disclosed a number of features (cobblestone road, stone building foundations), associated on the basis of written records and artifacts with extensive transformations begun around 1500. They also suggested that portions of the terrace were anthropogenic and that buried medieval horizons could be found within them. Excavations in 2003 and 2004 not only revealed important medieval structures in place, but substantiated that much of the terrace was essentially a feat of medieval engineering. A coring program in 2005 provided information on the extent of earthmoving and the internal stratigraphy of the outer bailey terrace, the castle mount and the filled-in moats around them. Subsequent chemical analysis of soil samples taken from key stratigraphic contexts has allowed us to better understand the preconstruction local environment, the history of the initial construction and subsequent transformation of the outer bailey and castle mount, and the differential use intensities of these raised earthen platforms.