2012-12-11

The rich archaeology of Rosmeer, Belgium

The rich archaeology of Rosmeer, Belgium

Rosmeer in Google Maps 

Introduction
Just a village, located on a hill  in the vast agricultural area west of the Dutch city of Maastricht, that is Rosmeer. 
But here we find a rich archaeological heritage. At a small surface of the village we find remains from different periods: the oldest finds come from the Linear Band Keramik (LBK) farmers during the Neolithic. Other periods of habitation of this area : the Iron age, the Roman period and the Merovingian period.
 It is no wonder, the Tourist -office of Bilzen ( Rosmeer is a part of the community of Bilzen)  has made a walk ( ca 6 km) in the village, that leads us to the main spots of this archaeological richness.
The name "Rosmeer" is already very interesting. It is originally taken from the name "Rosmerta",  goddess of the spring during the Celtic period.

The walk
The start is at the central place near the St. Pierre church, build at the end of the 12th century.
At this place, where you can park the car, we find a monument , dedicated to the "culture of the Linear Band Keramik" of - the wrong date, but who cares? - 4000 BC. The LBK at Rosmeer is from the period at ca 5.250 BC.

The monument, made by Denis Briers, at the central place


 We walk eastwards into the Rosmeerstraat,  and pass the old presbytery at the right hand, which is not archaeological, but very nice to see.

The presbytery from the 18th century, made of blocks of marl
Just a little bit further, also on the right, we find the spring, the "Bertilia- spring", originally the "Rosmerta spring" and christianized in  the 7th century.


The Bertilia spring, still contains clear water
At this point we  turn to the left, into a small foot-path, named "pastoorsteegske", leading  uphill, and where we pass a large red beech, with an estimated age of  200 years.

The mighty beech, with in the background, the tower of the church of Rosmeer
At the end of this foothpath, turn left, into the Groenstraat, than at the crossing left into the Kerkstraat. We pass by the church and turn right into the Bosstraat, leading us to a brook valley with large poplars. This is a small green oasis in the large agriculture area.Here we might spot a squirrel. Walk up hill direction of the Water tower, that we pass by, and at the crossing we turn right into the Bandstraat where we find at the right the board with the text about the Roman tumulus, found here up the hill. 


At this place at the Bandstraat in Rosmeer, in 1951, during the digging of a ditch for beet- storage, the remains of  a 2nd century tumulus was detected. Cremations in an urn from the Gallo Roman period were found here,together with jars and pots.
When we cross the main road, we take the road straight on, the "Slakkenstraat". Here we walk between meadows, cultivated fields and some fruit yards.
We follow the road, at a crossing we go right and immediate left and right: "in the Weigaard"; here we have a large look around us at the vast agricultural region.
Left at this road we find the first LBK site ( 5500 - 4900 BC): Boelhof -Flikkenberg..Sherds found here were well decorated, indicating they are from a later LBK phase.

The board at Boelhof Flikkenberg tells us about the LBK site that has been excavated here

When we continue the walk we find the second location of the LBK, from an  earlier phase: we are at the Staberg. Now it is hard to imagine, that on this particular hill, some  7000 years ago we could see the LBK farmers in their settlement.


The Staberg near Rosmeer, a LBK site was discovered here and excavated.
We continue the walk and turn right into the Schijvenstraat. Here we walk uphill, back into the village.
We turn at the crossing to the right, into the Diepestraat and  a little bit further, at the left we find two boards that tells us we are at a special archaeological place : a location where both an Iron age settlement was located, a Roman villa was found, and a Merovingian grave field was found where 120 people were buried.... Without these boards you would not have noticed this, as now there are new build houses.


A special archaeological site is hidden below these houses. We are lucky they had been excavated first, so we now know, this is the location of an Iron age settlement, a Roman villa and a Merovingian graveyard. All these archaeological remains have to do with the source, that lies southwards beneath it...

We return to the central place, by turning to the right into the Groenstraat again, and taking the Pastoorswegske downhill, to come again at the "Bertilia source". At this place we find "Café Bij Guske", where you might have a drink... but not always during the wintertime.
Here we turn back to the central place, to find back the car.
It was a nice, informative walk and I promise myself to do it again in summertime...

(Just for fun) 1 penny (Great Britain) from the year 2000.


Internet

Good description of the walk with some background information: 
Rosmeer, archeologische wandeling,
made by C.P.C. Aerssens  of  Lange Afstand Wandelvereniging "VIA-VIA".

Description and download of the walk
Routeyou: Rosmeer archeologische wandeling 

Archaeology of Rosmeer (bibliography/ articles)



De Boe, G, Van Impe, L  ( 1979) Nederzetting uit de ijzertijd en Romeinse villa te Rosmeer; publ. Brussel
Janssens, D. ( 1974) dissert. Het vroeg-neolithische vaatwerk van de Staberg te Rosmeer (Belgisch Limburg) Universiteit Gent
Pauwels, D ( 2006)  Rosmeer (Bilzen): proefsleuven op bedreigd terrein nabij de Romeinse villa en het Merovinigisch grafveld aan de Diepestraat (voorheen Schuivestraat) in: Limburg. Het Oude Land van Loon Vol. 85 / 1 Hasselt
Roosens, H, Vanderhoeven, M ( 1955)  Een verdwenen tumulus te Rosmeer; Archaeologia Belgica 24
Roossens H. ( 1963) Rosmeer : Bandkeramische nederzetting ; in Archeologie 2 
Roosens, H, Lux , G (1969) Een nederzetting uit de IJzertijd op de Staberg te Rosmeer in : Archaeologia Belgica








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