The villa of Hoogeloon and the settlement of Riethoven

Key-sites in the Roman rural landscape of the Lower Rhine frontier zone between Limes and loess


Image project Roman villa of HoogeloonThe aim of this project is to analyse three Roman archaeological sites that were excavated in the 1980s, publishing the results in a synthetic monograph and presenting the results to a wider public.

The publication on Hoogeloon-Kaboutersberg was finished in 2011. The most spectacular elements of this cemetery are the remains of a large grave mound (tumulus) and a 5.5-m-tall funerary monument of limestone, built by the family that owned the villa on the nearby Kerkakkers.

The second site is Riethoven-Heesmortel, a settlement with very special, Early Roman imports of luxury pottery. Remarkably, this settlement did not develop into a villa, but seems to be a normal farming village later in the Roman period.

The analysis of the villa site of Hoogeloon-Kerkakkers was an enormous task because of the extensive and varied finds. Find categories that were not analysed by the postdoctoral researcher himself were transferred to specialists for analysis. This includes fragments of painted plasterwork, carbonised seeds and fruits, pollen samples and animal bones. Julie Van Kerckhove has analysed all pottery sherds (over 30,000). All buildings, wells and ditches of the site have now been dated based on the pottery forms.

The ceramics will be further classified as to place or region of origin by means of thin sections and examination under a microscope. Such research is - especially where the simple pottery for daily use is concerned - unique for the Netherlands and will provide insight into the nature of trade in the Roman period. During the remaining time of the project, this material will be compared with that from other settlements in the southern Netherlands, which will also give insight into the consumption behaviour of inhabitants of different types of settlements.

Reconstruction of the main residential building of the Hoogeloon villa.
Reconstruction of the main residential building of the Hoogeloon villa. Drawing Mikko Kriek.
Apart from the scientific analysis of the excavations, the project also addresses the wider public. Several 3D reconstructions were made by Mikko Kriek (VUhbs). For the reconstruction of the tumulus Kaboutersberg in the woods of Hoogeloon, a reconstruction was made of the surrounding landscape. This was illustrated on a beautiful information board next to the grave mound. Furthermore, for the new exhibition in the Noord-Brabants Museum in Den Bosch, reconstructions were made of the inside and outside of the Roman villa, based as far as possible on finds from the excavation.

Something that was not included in the original project proposal was a control excavation on the Kerkakkers. In a short action of two weeks, an area of 7000 m2  was excavated, an area within the enclosure of the villa that had not been investigated previously. Surprisingly, the low-lying area contained no Roman features - other than the enclosure ditch -; mystifying, but an important fact.

Finally, the participants in the project started to prepare lectures for a symposium that would be held in Tongeren in January 2013. The lectures will inform the participants about each other’s progress and form the basis for contributions to the synthetic monograph on the cover sand area in the southern Netherlands and northern Belgium in the Roman period. This monograph will make the results of the project and those of recent large-scale archaeological research accessible to an international audience of researchers.

Project details


Funding
NWO Research Programme Humanities (2010-2014)

Project leaders
Prof. Dr. Nico Roymans
E-mail: n.g.a.m.roymans@vu.nl

Dr. Ton Derks
E-mail: a.m.j.derks@vu.nl

Researchers
Dr. Henk Hiddink
E-mail: h.a.hiddink@vu.nl

Drs. Julie Van Kerckhove
E-mail: j.van.kerckhove@vu.nl

Publications


Publications 2015

  • Roymans, N.G.A.M., Derks, A.M.J. & Hiddink, H.A. (2015). Preface. In N. Roymans, T. Derks & H.A. Hiddink (Eds.), The Roman villa of Hoogeloon and the archaeology of the periphery (pp. vii-x). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
  • Roymans, N.G.A.M. & Derks, A.M.J. (2015). Rural cult places and the symbolic construction of supra-local communities. In N. Roymans, T. Derks & H.A. Hiddink (Eds.), The Roman villa of Hoogeloon and the archaeology of the periphery (pp. 229-243). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
  • Roymans, N.G.A.M. & Derks, A.M.J. (2015). Texuandri, Tungri, Germani. Different levels of ethnic belonging. In N. Roymans, T. Derks & H.A. Hiddink (Eds.), The Roman villa of Hoogeloon and the archaeology of the periphery (pp. 19-32). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
  • Roymans, N.G.A.M. & Derks, A.M.J. (2015). The archaeology of a peripheral region. Theoretical perspectives and methodology. In N. Roymans, T. Derks & H.A. Hiddink (Eds.), The Roman villa of Hoogeloon and the archaeology of the periphery (pp. 1-18). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
  • Roymans, N.G.A.M. & Derks, A.M.J. (2015). Towards a narrative of the social history of the Hoogloon villa settlement. In N. Roymans, T. Derks & H.A. Hiddink (Eds.), The Roman villa of Hoogeloon and the archaeology of the periphery (pp. 295-306). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
  • Roymans, N.G.A.M., Derks, A.M.J. & Hiddink, H.A. (Eds.). (2015). The Roman villa of Hoogeloon and the archaeology of the periphery (Amsterdam Archaeological Studies, 22). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Publications 2014

Publications 2013

  • Hiddink, H.A. & Aarts, J.G. (2013). Een nederzetting en grafveld uit de Romeinse tijd op de Heesmortel bij Riethoven (Zuidnederlandse Archeologische Rapporten, 51). Amsterdam: VUhbs-Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
  • Roymans, N.G.A.M. & Hiddink, H.A. (2013). Aan de vooravond van de Romeinse verovering. De latere IJzertijd. In Limburg. Een geschiedenis I. Van prehistorie tot Vroege Middeleeuwen (pp. 61-72).
  • Roymans, N.G.A.M. & Derks, T. (2013). The Roman villa of Hoogeloon and the archaeology of a peripheral region in the Lower Germanic frontier zone. Symposium Gallo-Romeins Museum, 11-12 January: Tongeren. 

Publications 2011

  • Derks, A.M.J. (2011). Town-country dynamics in Roman Gaul. The epigraphy of the ruling elite. In N.G.A.M. Roymans & A.M.J. Derks (Eds.), Villa landscapes in the Roman North. Economy, culture and lifestyles (Amsterdam Archaeological Studies, 17) (pp. 107-137-5). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
  • Hiddink, H.A. (2011). Hoogeloon-Kaboutersberg. Onderzoek naar een grafveld uit de Romeinse tijd (Zuidnederlandse Archeologische Rapporten, 47). Amsterdam: ACVU-HBS.
  • Roymans, N.G.A.M. (2011). Een Romeinse graftoren bij de Kaboutersberg en zijn relatie tot de villa van de Kerkakkers. In H Hiddink (Ed.), Hoogeloon-Kaboutersberg. Onderzoek naar een grafveld uit de Romeinse tijd (VU-opgravingen in de Kempen, 1) (pp. 106-114). Amsterdam: ACVU-HBS.
  • Roymans, N.G.A.M. (2011). Ethnic recruitment, returning veterans and the diffusion of Roman culture among rural populations in the Rhineland frontier zone. In N.G.A.M. Roymans & T. Derks (Eds.), Villa landscapes in the Roman North. Economy, culture and lifestyles (Amsterdam Archaeological Studies, 17) (pp. 139-160). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
  • Roymans, N.G.A.M. & Zandstra, M. (2011). Indications for rural slavery in the northern provinces. In N. Roymans & T. Derks (Eds.), Villa landscapes in the Roman North. Economy, culture and lifestyles (Amsterdam Archaeological Studies, 17) (pp. 161-177). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
  • Roymans, N.G.A.M. & Habermehl, D.S. (2011). On the origin and development of axial villas with double courtyards in the Latin West. In N.G.A.M. Roymans & T. Derks (Eds.), Villa landscapes in the Roman North. Economy, culture and lifestyles (Amsterdam Archaeological Studies, 17) (pp. 83-106). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
  • Roymans, N.G.A.M. & Derks, T. (2011). Studying Roman villa landscapes in the 21st century. A multi-dimensional approach. In N.G.A.M. Roymans & T. Derks (Eds.), Villa landscapes in the Roman North. Economy, culture and lifestyles (Amsterdam Archaeological Studies, 17) (pp. 1-44-1). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
  • Roymans, N.G.A.M. & Derks, A.M.J. (Eds.). (2011). Villa landscapes in the Roman North. Economy, culture and lifestyles (Amsterdam Archaeological Studies, 17). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.