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VIOE-Rapporten 02: Een abdij onder het gras. Geofysische prospectie bij de evaluatie van verdwenen monumenten

Van Impe, Luc and Strutt, Kris (2006) VIOE-Rapporten 02: Een abdij onder het gras. Geofysische prospectie bij de evaluatie van verdwenen monumenten Centrale Archeologische Inventaris (CAI) II. Thematische Inventarisatie - en Evaluatieonderzoek, pp. 29-34.

Record type: Article


The abbey of Herkenrode, situated to the northwest of Hasselt (B., prov. Limburg), is thought to have been founded around 1182 AD. This foundation has been attributed to Gerard, count of Loon (1171-1194), and must have been undertaken during a period of major political problems. Later on, during the 13th century, the abbey became the largest and richest Cistercian complex for women in the Low Countries. Its importance is illustrated by the fact that the abbey remained the burial place for a number of members from the countal family of Loon. Many of the medieval structures of the abbey have been described in historical documents and are depicted on figurative maps.
Prior to the planned rebuilding of the abbey, during the 18th century, part of the complex was destroyed to make way for new structures. However, this rebuilding has never been realised due to the political upheaval towards the end of that century. After the French Revolution, the abbey was sold and some of the remaining buildings were used for industrial and agricultural purposes. Ultimately, the central part of the medieval abbey – church, cloister, kitchen, refectory, priest’s and guest’s houses, mill, brewery – has been completely destroyed.
In 2003, the Flemish Heritage Institute (‘Vlaams Instituut voor het Onroerend Erfgoed’, the successor of the former ‘Instituut voor het Archeologisch Patrimonium’) ordered a geophysical survey by the Archaeological Prospection Services of the University of Southampton. This survey was designed to see whether the subsurface remains of the medieval structures could be identified and evaluated. Two types of geophysical prospection techniques were applied: resistivity measurements and magnetometry. Subsequently, the contrasting results of both techniques were compared, evaluated and integrated.
The exact location of the church, the cloister, and service buildings were recorded, together with some strong rooms and cellars. The results, showing a relatively good preservation of the subsurface structures will be used for excavation planning. The archaeological research will contribute to the touristic and economic revaluation of the abbey complex, as planned by the Stichting Vlaams Erfgoed (Flemish Heritage Foundation).

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Published date: 2006
Keywords: Geophysical Survey' East Flanders, Belgium, Herkenroda Abbey


Local EPrints ID: 49949
ISSN: 1781-4936
PURE UUID: e7e3613f-c608-42a3-b7a2-7a172efd1048

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Date deposited: 07 Jan 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:54

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Author: Luc Van Impe
Author: Kris Strutt

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