14th-century lead coffin found during excavations in Bruges

Archaeologists in Bruges have found a lead coffin dating from the 14th century. The discovery was made during excavations along the Eekhoutpoort, where Eekhout Abbey, the oldest abbey in the centre of Bruges, once stood.

The excavation is on the former playground of the nursery and primary section of the Sint-Andreasinstituut. Eekhout Abbey, demolished around 1800, also stood on the site. Work is about to start on the site of the new BRUSK exhibition hall. But first the archaeologists got to work. They found a lead coffin, 12 tombs with 20 burials, anonymous children's graves and some grave goods.

"More than 600 years of history were buried under a playground for 200 years"

"More than 600 years of history were buried under a playground for 200 years, and now this unique piece of Bruges' history is being revealed in all its beauty," said councillor for culture Nico Blontrock (CD&V).

The coffin is expensive, but it also preserves the body better. The contents are therefore valuable to archaeologists. The archaeologists will clean and record all their finds, and natural scientists will also study them. The intention is to eventually re-bury the remains.

Medieval heritage

The remains found in the historic centre of Bruges, a World Heritage Site, date from when the city was the hub of trade between southern and northern Europe. Much of the medieval heritage from this period has been expertly preserved and renovated.

Eekhout Abbey, also known as St Bartholomew's Abbey, was the religious institution in Bruges at the time. It was dissolved in 1796, during the French Revolution. The following year it was publicly sold as a national asset to a French buyer named Rousseau. He had the buildings demolished in 1798. In 1802, only the modest entrance gate in the Eekhoutstraat remained.


#FlandersNewsService | © IMAGEBROKER

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