Last week’s discovery of a large number of remains of World War One casualties at an archaeological dig in Wijtschate in the region of Ypres in West Flanders has been followed by another discovery – the unearthing of more than 300 skeletons and many more artefacts from the Middle Ages, in Ypres itself. An international team of archaeologists has been working for months on a site in the city centre, and have managed to uncover an abbey, a church, homes and at least 300 skeletons of people who were presumably buried in the churchyard.
The site is the former location of a municipal school and the public library, and is intended for a new purpose as the location of around 100 houses. Under Flemish law, any construction project considered of archaeological importance has to down tools until the research has been carried out.
The remains come from the 13th to 15th century, according to project coordinator Jan Decorte, the high point of Ypres’ history. The discovery of skeletons, in particular, will allow research into how the people of that time lived.
The special characteristic of this site, is the extent: around 5,000 square metres, explained archaeologist Michelle Arnouts.