Zuidschote November 2014

Saturday 29th November 2014

Archeo7, the archaeological service of the seven municipalities in the southern Westhoek, has held an Open House on Saturday in Zuidschote. They showed the results of excavations that had been made by the construction of a new Fluxys gas pipeline.  Hundreds of curious people were shown around the site by the archaeologists and Piet Chielens of the In Flanders Fields Museum.


'Since the route of the natural gas pipeline crosses the front zone of the First World War, a munitions restoration is carried out for the actual works, together with an archaeological investigation. With a complete cross-section of the front zone of the First World War, we gain a unique insight into how the front landscape came into being, 'says archaeologist Jan Decorte of Archeo7.


The zone under investigation is sixty meters wide over a length of sixteen kilometers. 'The Belgian-French lines are currently being excavated along the Ooststraat in Zuidschote. These formed along the front line from 1914 on the Ieperleekanaal at Steenstrate. We have already uncovered well-preserved trench systems and found many objects in the trenches of the first, second and third lines. But also in the hinterland just behind the third line, we have already found a lot: jets, weapons, clothing, fired bullet shells, the woodwork on the floor of the trenches, even a chair and a table of a soldier ', says archaeologist- project leader Simon Verdegem.


Iron age to middle ages

Saturday afternoon was focused on the remnants of the First World War. But in the area, remains from the Iron Age, the Bronze Age, the Roman Period and the Middle Ages were also found. 'We have already uncovered three pottery sites from the Middle Ages, which points to a busy settlement in this area, which is now agricultural land,' says Jan Decorte.