the adventure continues

December 2008: Graduated from university January 2009: started getting sick December 2009: worked on beating cancer January 2010: TBA

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Location: Seattle, WA, United States

newly minted alumnus of the Art Department at the University of Idaho; BFA in studio art, with a history minor


The Town, the Castle, the Digging

The Town

A little bit about the town of Louvain La Neuve: It is home to the _French_ half of a university founded in Leuven (25km to the north) circa 1425. Around 1970 it was decided to cut the two cultural-language groups of the faculty in half and move the French portion to a new location. Normally, when in Europe, there are few “new” locations to move to-- every town has a history that goes back hundreds of years. This is not the case with LLN, which was the first new “town” to be founded in Belgium since the late renaissance. It rose from fields around 2-3 farms near the towns of Ottignies and Wavre, not far from the historically significant town of Waterloo... no, I haven’t been there... yet.

The group of students participating in this dig promised to be an eclectic bunch from the beginning-- we come from all parts of the US. Little did we know how well we would get along and how much fun we have merely riding to work or going to dinner. We are almost equal parts hip, intelligent, sophisticated, down to earth, dorky, maniacal, and all around awesome. I won’t go into a detailed who’s who, suffice to say that there will be no boring moments with this cadre around.

The Castle

Around 1150, a lord named Arnould I began fortifying the site of the castle at Walhain-St-Paul. His descendants continued to work on the project (Arnould’s II-IV), but eventually sold out to the Lord of Glimes (another local noble). The castle saw a few remodels over the next few centuries under a bevy of new owners, but it remained a rural fortification and it’s town never expanded. Compare with the nearby town of Ath where a castle built by the same guy (in the middle of a swamp, no less) became the center of a city that expanded so rapidly that city walls were rebuilt larger several times in the space of 100 years. Our castle is very much a side-note to remind other people who controlled the region. There were never any military actions at the site, and there is no “treasure” to be found either. However, it is an excellent place to learn how to perform an archeological excavation-- with many layers of detritus, structural remains, small objects, etc.

The digging

In the past week we have cleared away the dirt and “destruction” from the cobbles that covered the courtyard in the 16th century. I have found many rusted nails, bits of old pottery that will never see their whole shape again, crushed slate and brick from fallen buildings, and a Coke bottle in an old drain.

I have to warn you: the slate is sharp, the only coin I’ve seen was dated “1956”, and we recently ran into mystery structures in one trench which make no sense to the experts; even me-- and I’ve been poring over plans for medieval castles for more than 10 years now! O.o


Blogger greg said...

Are you telling us that Lord Arnould had a thing for Coke? Har Har.

4:57 PM  

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