Raakvlak

Painted medieval burial vaults discovered in Bruges

Excavations at a cemetery in the centre of Bruges have yielded an extraordinary find.  Archaeologists have discovered three painted burial vaults dating from the 14th century.

The find was made last May during works in a street in the vicinity of the Church of Our Lady in Bruges (West Flanders).  The best-preserved burial vault is being paced in the church today.

The three medieval burial vaults were discovered during works on the construction of a filling station.

“The find is unique in Flanders” says culture alderman Nico Blontrock.

It’s taken a while for one of the burial vaults to be moved into the church as removing it from the soil required special equipment.

There’s little experience here with the removal of burial vaults and Alderman Blontrock says that in the past this has often failed: “These are fragile constructions, often consisting of brickwork.  Taking them out of the ground often means the painting is damaged.  We wanted to avoid this and established a special commission of experts.  I’m so happy the vault has now been saved for posterity.

The best-preserved burial vault is now receiving a temporary home in the Church of Our Lady before it is moved to the church museum.  The paintings show classical medieval representations: “The paintings on a layer of plaster feature angels, crosses and other Christian themes.  The vault can be viewed in 3D on the Raakvlak website” says Blontrock.

Radio 2
Radio 2
Raakvlak

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