- Title: Archaeologists excavate centuries-old gate under planned Antwerp tram line
- Date: 1st August 2017
- Summary: ANTWERP, BELGIUM (AUGUST 1, 2017) (REUTERS) PART OF 16TH CENTURY FORTIFICATION SEEN ON BOULEVARD VARIOUS OF ARCHAEOLOGISTS VEERLE HENDRIKS AND FEMKE MARTENS STANDING ON SITE, TALKING VARIOUS OF HENDRIKS TAKING MEASURES ON FORTIFICATION VARIOUS OF MARTENS WALKING ON FORTIFICATION, TAKING MEASURES EXCAVATION SITE (SOUNDBITE) (English) ARCHAEOLOGIST FOR ANTWERP CITY, FEMKE MARTENS, SAYING: "The reason why we are doing the research here is because of the large scale infrastructure project called 'Noorderlijn' which is a project whereby a tram connection is made to the north of Antwerp and this big boulevard, the 'lei' is rearranged. There are tunnels being built, there is a large plaza being made in front of the Rooseveltplaats and here, where we are standing, there is new infrastructure being placed, a new sewage system, and also the roadway is being renewed, there is a tramway coming, so this is the reason why we have exposed these historical remains here." PART OF FORTIFICATION (SOUNDBITE) (English) ARCHAEOLOGIST FOR ANTWERP CITY, FEMKE MARTENS, SAYING: "So at some places, archaeological remains really have to disappear because it's not possible otherwise, because the tramway has to come there, the tram tunnel has to come there. But at other places such as here we get the opportunity to expose a part of this fortification wall but it will be closed off again afterwards so it will not be destroyed." HOLE IN GROUND BY WALL (SOUNDBITE) (English) ARCHAEOLOGIST FOR ANTWERP CITY, FEMKE MARTENS, SAYING: "So, we are standing here between two pillars in fact of the bridge to the Red Gate which was one of the entrances to the 16th century A.D. city and the walls that you see here are retaining walls that were built to close off the vaults of this bridge and to create a water basin containing fresh water and this water was intended to supply the breweries inside the 'Nieuwstad', the area of the 16th century A.D. expanded city." VARIOUS OF MARTENS GIVING EXPLANATIONS ON THE FORTIFICATIONS, SHOWING OLD MAP BELONGING TO ANTWERP CITY ARCHIVE (SOUNDBITE) (English) ARCHAEOLOGIST FOR ANTWERP CITY, FEMKE MARTENS, SAYING: "When we first saw last year the bastion, the 'Huidevetterstoren', so these high walls, of six metres high and you are standing at the basis and you know that people have been standing there for hundreds of years, well that's really impressive; it's really a monumental construction. And we also see it when we compare to other cities, it was really a monumental and impressive masterpiece already at that time and still." VARIOUS OF WORKERS PUTTING BLACK COVER ON FORTIFICATION, BULLDOZER COVERING IT WITH SAND TRAMLINE IN CONSTRUCTION TRAM DRIVING BY
- Embargoed: 15th August 2017 15:08
- Keywords: Red gate 16th century bridge fortifications archaeological research
- Location: ANTWERP, BELGIUM
- City: ANTWERP, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Human Interest / Brights / Odd News
- Reuters ID: LVA0016SBSO61
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Antwerp is getting a new tram line but first centuries-old bricks from its past are seeing the light of day, however briefly.
Archaeologists working for the city have spent the past two weeks excavating part of the 16th century bridge of the Red Gate, as construction crews work simultaneously to build new transport links.
On Tuesday (August 1), two crane operators began to dump soil over the tarp-covered remains.
These ruins and others have been exposed as a massive infrastructure project rearranges a main boulevard to add tunnels, plazas, sewage drains, and trams to the north of the city.
Based on years of research, archaeologist Femke Martens believes that much of the bridge still extends below the city. The structure was designed not only to provide an entrance, but also to channel freshwater to new breweries at the time, after local beer makers had complained of sour water damaging their product.
At one site, large parts of the bridge, bastion, and city wall will be integrated into the design of the tram way, visible to passengers and pedestrians as part of a new plaza, the Operaplein.
The bridge site and its neighbouring bastion will remain intact, but will be covered by new road. In other places though, after documentation and a 3D scan, the remains will be removed as a new tram tunnel ploughs through.
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