Between September 2013 April 2015 Adede conducted a large scale archaeological excavation for Artes Depret in Wervik, Belgium.
The reason for this excavation is the widening of the river Leie in the area of the town centre and construction of a new bridge connecting Wervik and France. Work in Wervik is part of a huge water intrastructure venture which will connect the Scheldt and Seine estuaries which involves digging a new 106 km long canal, construction of locks and adapting or replacing existing bridges to allow for passage of larger vessels. The project is known as the European Scheldt-Seine project.
Adede conducted GPR surveys, test trenches and intrusive prospection in order to establish an archaeological valuation of the project area. This resulted in the excavation of an area east of the Brugstraat in Wervik. Given the fact that the area showed a risk of presence of UXO from both WW1 and WW2 excavation and dredging was preceded by a UXO survey of the Leie and subsequent work was guided by our archaeologists who had an eye out for both heritage and UXO.
Section revealing a wooden drain underneath a brick drain demonstrating the fact that the ground level was raised during the 17th-18th centuries
Foundations of an old chalk oven, along the river Leie.
Entrance of a WW2 era air raid shelter.
The project has revealed several interesting stages in Wervik’s development from the late Middle Ages onward. Footprints of the original brick buildings reveal the development of linear building planning starting in the 15th century. A chalk oven foundation that was discovered near the bank of the river was evidence of the industrial history of the town whereas the orientation of an old alley with wooden and brick drainage system on top of each other suggest elevation of ground level and early use of the Leie for drainage. We found relatively little in the way of UXO or remnants of war. Near the bank a few rifles, rifle munitions and jerrycans were found practically on the surface as well as the entrance stairway to a WW2 era air raid shelter. Through archaeology we managed to find, identify, analyse, record and save Wervik’s history before it is sacrificed for the future.