25 February 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

Works on Brussels metro line uncovered remains of the second city wall

Construction work on the new metro line 3 in Brussels, the Belgian capital, has revealed part of the second rampart wall and one of its semicircular towers.

Bruzz reports that as a result of the construction, remnants of Brussels’ second city wall have been uncovered. This is the first time that one of the approximately 70 semicircular towers of the second rampart wall was uncovered.

One of the nearly seventy semicircular constellations has been revealed for the first time. Prior to this discovery, the only archaeological remains of the second city wall were the Porte de Hal and the 17th-century fortress wall discovered during the construction of the Porte de Hal metro.

The archaeologists discovered “two relatively parallel sections of the wall” in addition to the tower. Both discoveries have been stymied largely by recent developments, such as a concrete hatch on the west side and brick ducts running directly through it.

Detail of the “View of Brussels” by Bonnecroy (1664-1665) between the Grande Écluse and the Porte de Hal.
Detail of the “View of Brussels” by Bonnecroy (1664-1665) between the Grande Écluse and the Porte de Hal.

This new discovery, near the Brussels-Midi station, was made last year by archaeologists supervising the works, but the discoveries were only recently reported in the journal Cahiers Bruxellois.

Brussels’ economy and population grew rapidly in the 14th century, forcing the city to expand and construct a second wall. Ludwig van Male (Count of Flanders) and his forces’ difficulties in defending the city in 1356 may have been decisive in laying the foundation stone in 1357.

The second Brussels city wall was eight kilometers in circumference: twice as long as the first. The wall had about seventy semi-circular towers, and two round watchtowers, and was pierced with seven gates and two locks.

Although only the Halle Gate remains, many references can still be found in Brussels to the entry gates of yesteryear: the Halle Gate, the Naamse Gate, the Leuven Gate, the Schaarbeekse Gate, the Lakense Gate, the Flemish Gate, and the Anderlechtse Gate and eighth gate, Oeverpoort. Oeverpoort Gate was built in the 16th century.

Remnants second city wall of.
Remnants second city wall of. Photo: Brussels Pamphlets

The majority of the entrance gates were destroyed at the end of the 18th century when it was decided that the wall would no longer be used as a military defense. Since it was a prison, only Hallepoort has survived. Since that time, the city wall has changed from a shelter to a walkway with a stunning view of the city.

Similar to Paris, Brussels decided to create space for a wide city avenue so that residents could travel along it on foot or by horseback until the end of the 19th century. Many of the city’s neighborhoods were altered by this choice: new residential areas grew up around the avenue, and the industrial area grew on the north and west sides as a result of the harbor’s presence.

Because work on Metro Line 3 is far from finished, researchers anticipate more archaeological discoveries.

doi.org/10.3917/brux.053.0007

Related Articles

Historical Armenian church 500-year-old in southeastern Turkey set to be restored

6 February 2022

6 February 2022

Work has been initiated to transfer the historical Armenian Church, which was built in the 16th century in the province...

“Urartian Royal garbage dump” was found during excavations at Ayanis Castle

3 September 2022

3 September 2022

During the excavations carried out in the Ayanis Castle, which was built by the Urartian King Rusa II on the...

Egypt unearths 2,300-year-old remains of Greco-Roman town in Alexandria

28 August 2021

28 August 2021

An Egyptian archeological team discovered the ruins of a Greco-Roman residential and commercial town in the north coast city of...

Archaeologists find the earliest evidence Maya sacred calendar in the Guatemalan pyramid

14 April 2022

14 April 2022

Archaeologists identified two plaster fragments depicting a date that the Maya civilization called ‘7 deer’ and was part of the...

Researchers have found in miniature ceramic bottles evidence of the oldest known use of cosmetics in the Balkans

14 July 2021

14 July 2021

In miniature ceramic bottles from excavations ascribed to the Lasinja Culture in the Southeast Prealps and the Vinča Culture in...

New evidence for early regional exchanges in Eurasia: Ice skates made of animal bones over 3,000 years old

9 March 2023

9 March 2023

Chinese archaeologists have discovered ancient ice skates made of animal bones at the Gaotai Ruins in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous...

Magical Roman Phallus Wind Chime Unearthed in Serbia

15 November 2023

15 November 2023

Archaeologists have unearthed a Roman phallus wind chime known as a tintinnabulum, during excavations at the ancient city of Viminacium...

A Celtiberian city more than 2000 years old found in Spain

16 July 2023

16 July 2023

The Polytechnic University of Madrid announced the discovery of a Roman camp and the Celtiberian city of Titiakos in the...

The impressive Statue of young Hercules unearthed in Philippi, Northern Greece

24 September 2022

24 September 2022

A larger-than-life youthful Hercules statue dating to the 2nd century A.D. have been found in the ancient city of Philippi...

Archaeologists Unearth Roman Archive of Ancient City of Doliche

20 November 2023

20 November 2023

Archaeologists from the Asia Minor Research Center at the University of Münster have uncovered the municipal archive in the ancient...

An Iron Age Necropolis was discovered in the Normandy, northwestern France

11 May 2022

11 May 2022

A modest Iron Age agricultural settlement excavated at Blainville-sur-Orne in Normandy, northwest France, led to the unexpected discovery of a...

Archaeologists uncovered an Aztec altar with human ashes in Mexico City

1 December 2021

1 December 2021

Archaeologists in Mexico have discovered a 16th-century altar in Plaza Garibaldi, the center in Mexico City famous for its revelry...

In Bergama, the City of Greek Gods, the People Kept the Cult of Cybele Alive

25 August 2021

25 August 2021

The figurines of Cybele, the goddess of the fertility of Anatolia, and the presence of sanctuaries unearthed in the Ancient...

Genetic Analysis Reveals A Woman As The Highest-Ranking Individual In Copper Age Spain: ‘Ivory Lady’

6 July 2023

6 July 2023

According to a study published Thursday (July 6) in the journal Scientific Reports, the highest-status individual in ancient Copper Age...

Amateur divers discover ‘enormously valuable’ hoard of Roman coins

27 September 2021

27 September 2021

Two amateur free divers have found one of the largest collections of Roman coins in Europe off the east coast of Spain. Luis Lens...