|Vroegmiddeleeuwse nederzettingssporen nabij de Zandstraat te Ettelgem (stad Oudenburg, prov. West-Vlaanderen)|
Hollevoet, Y. (2003). Vroegmiddeleeuwse nederzettingssporen nabij de Zandstraat te Ettelgem (stad Oudenburg, prov. West-Vlaanderen). Archeol. Vlaan. 7: 83-94
In: Archeologie in Vlaanderen = Archaeology in Flanders. Instituut voor het Archeologisch Patrimonium: Brussel. ISSN 0778-2837, more
In 1998 excavations were carried out on two locations in the centre of Ettelgem, a small village to the east of Oudenburg and along the Zandstraat, a road of supposed Roman origin (fig. 1). The first site (fig. 2 -fig. 4: A) was located near the former local primary school which will be demolished and replaced by a housing estate. A few test pits near the buildings revealed the presence of early medieval settlement features. These were, however, severely damaged by sand-winning pits. The early medieval features could be associated with a foundation trench, probably from a house, and several ditches. On the second site, the excavations were carried out during the construction of a car park, under rather precarious circumstances (fig. 3); they covered a limited area, approximately 1.100 m2 to the west of the Oude Kerkstraat (fig. 4: B). They confirmed the observations made during former fieldwalking and a watching brief of sewage works carried out at the end of the eighties. A few stray flint artefacts left aside, the oldest features may be dated to the Metal Ages (fig. 5: A). Two large circular pits, probably used as wells, date back to the late Bronze Age or the early Iron Age; one of these contained fragments from a vessel (fig. 6) which can be related to the so-called Urnfield culture in Flanders. A third shallow pit is younger; the sherds, among which fragments of so-called technical pottery used for craft activities (metallurgy or salt making) probably date from the late Iron Age. Two more or less parallel ditches are the only Roman features (fig. 5: B). Early medieval settlement remains were found in relatively large quantities (fig. 5: C). They can be attributed to different ground plans of houses, fences, two or three so-called sun- ken featured buildings with six posts (fig. 7: a-b) and wells, of which only the upper fillings were investigated. Among the finds worth mentioning is a gold tremissis from the early sixth century (fig. 8); however the coin was found in the fill of a younger track way (cf infra). The copper alloy finds consist of a fragment of a hairpin and several equal armed brooches (fig. 9). Glass is rare; only a fragment of a cup with white reticella-decoration and a bead may be mentioned here. The main part of the finds consists of pottery sherds -domestic as well as luxury wares - and even a spindle whorl (fig. 10). Part of the early medieval settlement site has been disturbed by a track way from the high Middle Ages (fig. 5: D). This is probably the original route between the Oude Kerkstraat and the Zandstraat, passing in front of the church entrance. Nowadays the Oude Kerkstraat runs behind the former parish church. Intensive surveys carried out at the end of the eighties revealed large numbers of pottery sherds from Roman times onwards. An important group consisted of pottery from the early Middle Ages; the fields adjacent to the car park must contain e remains of the earliest habitation phases of le village. Due to a favourable combination of factors some of these fields have never been build over in later times (fig. 11). However, a large part of the area IS threatened by the extension plans of a sawmill. During the excavations another area with crop marks (fig. 12) disappeared under a large building and the tension of the parking facilities (fig. 13), unfortunately without any follow up of the ground works. Past investigations in the neighborhood have proved that the whole area is rich in archaeological sites (fig. 14).