June 2013 - Roman villa, Tienen, Vlaams Brabant, Belgium

In 1981 remains of a Roman bath house were discovered from limited excavation at the site by a group of amateur archaeologists. Scatters of roof tile, pottery fragments and concentrations of metal slag recovered from recent field walking suggested the buried remains of a Roman villa beyond the 1981 excavated zone.

The greyscale image below presents the magnetometry data completed across the northern part of the study area, detailing the remains of the villa foundation now bisected by a modern farm trackway. The villa remains are apparent in the magnetometry results as adjacent rectangular positive responses, concentrated mainly to the south. To the north the magnetometry highlights a series of shallow and parallel negative linear anomalies representing a possible early road or estate boundary associated with the Roman villa. To the south-west a circular enclosure, possibly an Iron Age burial site, and to the east a faint rectangular enclosure, are also visible in the magnetometry results.

Roman villa foundations apparent in the magnetometry results

1st phase test trenching on the basis of the results from the magnetometry discovered a large concentration of burnt debris and roof tile fragments of Roman origin at anomalies ‘A.’

Burnt debris and roof tile fragments of Roman origin identified at test trench over anomalies A

Test trenching targeted over anomalies ‘B’ identified a large concentration of Roman roof tile fragments.

Large concentration of Roman roof tile fragments at test trench over anomalies B

2nd phase test trenching at this site will begin again next year and continue to use the magnetometry results to target specific areas of the Roman villa remains.

Instrumentation and methodology

4 sensor magnetometer cart system with GPS, 10cm sample interval, line separation 0.5m.

Geoscan electrical resistivity twin probe array, sample interval 0.5m, line separation 1m


Dry to wet loam soils (Abp, Aba, Acp, Ahp).

Reporting language