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Rijswijk-De Bult


Rijswijk-De Bult today. Photo Marco Prins.
Rijswijk-De Bult today. 
Rijswijk-De Bult: site of ancient farm, not far from modern The Hague in the Netherlands.

At Rijswijk, a suburb of The Hague, the remains of an ancient farm, built by a Cananefatian family, where excavated at a site called De Bult. The consecutive building stages could be identified and are now indicated with different kind of paving stones. It was originally constructed from wood in c.25 CE.

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Reconstruction of an Iron age farm, similar to those in Roman Germania Inferior. Archeon, Alphen aan den Rijn (Netherlands). Photo Jona Lendering.
Reconstruction of an Iron age farm (not from Rijswijk); Archeon.


The inhabitants lived close to the main town of their tribe, Voorburg, or, as it was called back then, Municipium Cananefatum. This town must have been the place where the farmers sold the products they had produced. However, the farm was also close to a small river, the Gantel, which gave the farmer direct access to the estuary of the Waal and Meuse.

The first building at De Bult may have been a smaller version of this Iron Age farm, which was reconstructed in the Archeon archaeological park in Alphen aan de Rijn. The Cananefatian farm was expanded twice.


Map of Rijswijk - De Bult. Design Jona Lendering.
The original farm had measured measured 9 x 5 m; it is dark gray on the map to the left. The first reconstruction was an expansion and added a new room; now, the building measured 13 x 6 m. It is shown in light gray. The third building phase, red, was an entirely new building that measured 19 x 8 meters.

In c.125, the farm was rebuilt in a more Roman, square fashion. The building, still made of wood, measured 20 x 6 meters (light green). This phase may have been connected to the visit of the emperor Hadrianto the area, which is believed - but perhaps on erroneous ground - to have resulted in a renewal of the nearby town. From now on, it was called Forum Hadriani, "the market of Hadrian".


Reconstruction of the farm at Rijswijk-De Bult; Archeon (Netherlands). Photo Miriam de Boer.
Reconstruction of the farm at Rijswijk-De Bult; Archeon.

In the second half of the second century, a real Roman villa was constructed (28 x 7 meters; blue; the fifth building phase), to which a room with pavement and heating was added in the third century (dark green). The fourth picture, another reconstruction at the Archeon, shows what it must have looked in the mid-third century.

Like nearby Voorburg, Rijswijk - De Bult was abandoned in c.275. The ruin remained recognizable as a small hill, whence it was called "De Bult" (little mound).

 Here you can see it on a satellite photo.
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2008
Revision: 24 May 2010
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