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Frontiers of the Roman Empire — The Lower German Limes (Pays-Bas)

Date de soumission : 25/01/2018
Critères: (ii)(iii)(iv)
Catégorie : Culturel
Soumis par :
Permanent Delegation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to UNESCO
État, province ou région :
Provinces of Gelderland, Utrecht and Zuid-Holland
Ref.: 6298
Transnationale
Autres États parties participants
Allemagne
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Description

The Lower German Limes is a distinctive part of the frontiers of the Roman Empire, which protected this extensive empire over the three continents of Africa, Asia and Europe. Three frontier sections have already been jointly inscribed on the World Heritage List, as component parts of the property Frontiers of the Roman Empire (430ter: Hadrian's Wall 1987, Upper German-Raetian Limes 2005, Antonine Wall 2008). The Lower German Limes will be nominated as a single, distinct (serial) property, following the nomination strategy for the Frontiers of the Roman Empire, written in 2017 by the States Parties involved in the proposed nomination of the frontiers in Europe. The World Heritage Committee has taken note of this nomination strategy and the underlying thematic study at its 41st session at Kraków (41 COM 8B.50).

The Lower German Limes constitutes the north-eastern boundary of the Roman province of Germania Inferior (Lower Germany), running for 400 km along the river Rhine, from the spurs of the Rhenish Massif south of Bonn in Germany to the North Sea coast in the Netherlands. The military infrastructure was established in the last decades BC and existed, after a temporary breakdown in the late 3rd century, until the disintegration of the Western Roman Empire in the early 5th century AD.

The highly dynamic character of the Lower Rhine, particularly in its extensive delta in the Netherlands, made a strong appeal to the ingenuity of the Roman military engineers. A groyne and canals were designed to enhance its navigability, and quays and landing platforms to facilitate its use for logistical purposes. Designs of forts and roads were adapted to cope with the whimsical behaviour of the river. These peculiarities are demonstrated by outstanding remains of timber and other organic materials, which are excellently preserved by the wetland conditions of the Lower Rhineland.

The Roman military infrastructure along the Rhine was established as a springboard for the conquest of Germanic territories across the river. Once this ambition had failed, the left river bank was converted into a fortified frontier — the first European river frontier to develop. The Lower German Limes also provides a fine example of the development of an urban infrastructure in a region without central places, illustrating the spread of Roman administrative and architectural traditions.

Nom(s) de l’élément/des éléments constitutif(s)

Lower German Limes (NL: Neder-Germaanse Limes)

northwest:

N 52°

10'

50.5"

E 4°

25'

58.1" (Valkenburg fort / NL)

centre:

N 51°

42'

50.8"

E 6°

19'

15.6" (Altkalkar fort / D)

southeast:

N 50°

34'

46.9"

E 7°

13'

39.4" (Remagen fort / D)

 

Description de l’élément/des éléments constitutif(s)

The nominated property consists of some sixty component sites. The section starts on the North Sea coast near Katwijk aan Zee and ends at Remagen, where the Upper German-Raetian Limes (inscribed 2005) starts on the opposite river bank. Due to migration of the Rhine channels in and after the Roman period some sites are no longer situated on the active river channel, while a few have been washed away. Yet, the close relationship between military posts and the river is still evident in many places.

The military fortifications consist of large legionary bases and temporary camps, smaller forts for auxiliary units and some watchtowers. The wetland character of the frontier section is clearly expressed by a dug canal, a fleet base, a bridgehead, and harbour installations at many fort sites; it is also illustrated by sunken ships and by timber revetments and other constructions associated with the military road. Industrial sites, military sanctuaries and an aqueduct testify of the impact of the varied military needs on the landscape, while the governor's palace, fortified towns and settlements outside forts bear witness of the interweaving of the military and civilian worlds.

The component sites have been selected on account of their contribution to the Outstanding Universal Value of the Lower German Limes, of their authenticity and integrity, and of the feasibility of management and long-term protection.

List of component sites (for the Netherlands)

1 / Katwijk / Valkenburg / Centrum

Praetorium Agrippinae? / Coordinates: 4,4328 16 / 52,180696

Fort, vicus, cemetery / Date: 40 - 400

Integrity: Approximately 40% of the fort has not been excavated. Although its remains are overbuilt, previous excavations underneath built-up areas have demonstrated that especially the earlier building phases are very well preserved, including many timber and other organic remains. The other parts of the military settlement (military vicus and cemetery) have been less intensively excavated, and although most of the area is overbuilt many remains are still intact.

Authenticity: The Valkenburg fort is famous for its preservation of timber remains, especially from the earlier building phases of the fort. There are only few sites where so many authentic details of Roman military timber construction are still present.

2 / Katwijk Valkenburg / De Woerd

Coordinates: 4,438954 / 52,169897

Military vicus / Date: 40 - 270

Integrity: Part of the settlement has been excavated, and the remaining areas are largely overbuilt (mainly greenhouses). Nevertheless, many remains are likely to be still present.

Authenticity: Excavation has demonstrated the presence of buildings with military aspects of design and construction, in a linear arrangement. This is typical of military vici and has rarely been attested in the Netherlands, and therefore this site is important for the knowledge and understanding of this site type in the wetland landscape of the Rhine delta.

3 / Leidschendam-Voorburg I Voorburg Arentsburg

Forum Hadriani / Coordinates: 4,350568 / 52,059879

Civil town Forum Hadriani, harbour / Date: 100 - 270

Integrity: Considerable parts (c. 37%) of the Roman town have been excavated in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but many of the then uncovered features are still (partially) intact. Timber and other organic remains are preserved at deeper, waterlogged levels. Overbuilding is restricted to the northwest corner, not very dense and is not very likely to have caused much damage.

Authenticity: The presence of a Roman civil town with a harbour is well attested by excavation. It is likely that the development of towns on the Lower German frontier relied heavily on imperial intervention and military involvement in their construction. The presence of a harbour along Corbulo's canal and the finds assemblage indicate that the town played a part in the supply of the military infrastructure along the North Sea coast. In all, this civil town is a relevant aspect of the military infrastructure in the Rhine delta.

4 / Leidschendam-Voorburg / Voorschoten Leidschendam / Voorschoten

Fossa Corbulonis / Coordinates: 4,415765 / 52,096218

Corbulo canal / Date: 40 - 270

Integrity: Preserved over great lengths. Time and again excavations have demonstrated the presence of remains of this canal, in narrow trial trenches. The remnants consist of an artificial water channel, with its sides strengthened with post rows at several places. Not rarely, these posts are preserved in very good condition.

Authenticity: Although several canals are known from historical sources, this is the only example which has been attested beyond doubt. The canal is mentioned by the historian Tacitus (Annales 11.20), who credits the Lower German army commander Corbulo with its construction, in AD 47. However, the canal has been proven to have an earlier phase which must have preceded the command of Corbulo. This canal is therefore of immense historical value, both confirming and correcting historical evidence, and expressing the adaptation of the delta landscape to the Roman military needs.

5 / Leiden / Leiden / Roomburg

Matilo? / Coordinates: 4,517568 / 52,149757

Fort, military vicus, harbour / Date: 40 - 400

Integrity: Today, the area of fort and its immediate surroundings is a park. The presence of remains of the fort defenses has been well attested, but most of the fort has not been touched by excavation. Part of the fort and the adjacent civil settlement have been overbuilt by a monastery, built in 1464 and dismantled in 1573. It is unknown to what degree the Roman remains were damaged by this religious complex. The limited excavations carried out so far have uncovered many Roman features. Excavations in the vicus were confined to its periphery. The settlement was built along the outlet of the Corbulo canal, whose bank was fortified with post rows and revetments, with well preserved timber remains and rich finds including organic materials and well-preserved metal objects. Large stretches of this embankment are likely to be still present.

Authenticity: This site is a relatively completely preserved example of a military settlement, with attested remains of a fort, its vicus and harbour facilities along the northern outlet of the Corbulo canal. This completeness is its main assets from the point of view of authenticity, as it allows to question the relationship between the various components, of which the Corbulo canal is unique. Today, the former presence of a Roman fort is marked at the surface by an earth wall with gates and towers; material and design clearly reveal that they are not meant as a reconstruction. This visible remembrance supports the sustainable protection of the underlying and surrounding Roman remains by explaining their presence.

6 / Alphen aan den Rijn / Zoeterwoude Groenendijk / Hazerswoude-Rijndijk / Zoeterwoude-Rijndijk

Coordinates: 4,546766 / 52,135551

Limes road and associated structures Date: 80 - 270

Integrity: The presence of sections of a (Limes) road between Zoeterwoude in the west and Harmelen in the east has been confirmed at various locations, partly in excavations. Further research is needed to attest the precise course of the road and its preservation.

Authenticity: There is no doubt that there was a road connecting the forts on the left bank of the Rhine, between Utrecht-Hoge Woerd and Leiden-Roomburg. Based on the better documented situation immediately west of Utrecht-Hoge Woerd watchtowers may be expected along the road, and timber constructions where the road touches the Rhine channel or crosses tributaries and other wet areas. It seems that shipwrecks occur every now and then in the Rhine bed, and one or more may be present in areas protected primarily for the presence of the road. The entire assemblage of road, protective measures, watchtowers and ships constitute an extremely valuable asset of the Lower German frontier, expressing the struggle of the Roman military with the wetland conditions.

7 Alphen aan den Rijn / Zwammerdam Polder Steekt

Coordinates: 4,699745 / 52,111663

Limes road / Date: 80 - 270

Integrity: The presence of sections of a (Limes) road between Zoeterwoude in the west and Harmelen in the east has been confirmed at various locations, partly in excavations. Further research is needed to attest the precise course of the road and its preservation.

Authenticity: There is no doubt that there was a road connecting the forts on the left bank of the Rhine, between Utrecht-Hoge Woerd and Leiden-Roomburg. Based on the better documented situation immediately west of Utrecht-Hoge Woerd watchtowers may be expected along the road, and timber constructions where the road touches the Rhine channel or crosses tributaries and other wet areas. It seems that shipwrecks occur every now and then in the Rhine bed, and one or more may be present in areas protected primarily for the presence of the road. The entire assemblage of road, protective measures, watchtowers and ships constitute an extremely valuable asset of the Lower German frontier, expressing the struggle of the Roman military with the wetland conditions.

8 Bodegraven-Reeuwijk / Bodegraven Centrum

Coordinates: 4,745302 / 52,083634

Fort / Date: 40 - 270

Integrity: Excavations have revealed the presence of a gate and part of the wall of a timber fortification of so far uncertain size. Parts of the defenses and of internal buildings were preserved in conditions as known from Valkenburg-Centrum. There is every reason to believe that many other parts of this installation are still present below the town centre.

Authenticity: The timber military installation at Bodegraven may well be the best preserved and complete example of the Lower German frontier. Excavation has been so limited that its size and character remain uncertain. If the preservation conditions observed in a few excavations are no exception, the site is of outstanding value for the early chronology of this part of the frontier, and for the surviving details of military timber construction.

9 / Woerden / Bodegraven-Reeuwijk / Nieuwerbrug aan den Rijn / Woerden-Bodegraven

Coordinates: 4,789864 / 52,079958

Limes road and associated structures / Date: 80 - 270

Integrity: The presence of sections of a (Limes) road between Zoeterwoude in the west and Harmelen in the east has been confirmed at various locations, partly in excavations. Further research is needed to attest the precise course of the road and its preservation.

Authenticity: There is no doubt that there was a road connecting the forts on the left bank of the Rhine, between Utrecht-Hoge Woerd and Leiden-Roomburg. Based on the better documented situation immediately west of Utrecht-Hoge Woerd watchtowers may be expected along the road, and timber constructions where the road touches the Rhine channel or crosses tributaries and other wet areas. It seems that shipwrecks occur every now and then in the Rhine bed, and one or more may be present in areas protected primarily for the presence of the road. The entire assemblage of road, protective measures, watchtowers and ships constitute an extremely valuable asset of the Lower German frontier, expressing the struggle of the Roman military with the wetland conditions.

10 / Woerden J Woerden / Centrum

Laurium? / Coordinates: 4,883937 / 52,085736

Fort, vicus, harbour, riverside deposits and Limes road / Date: 40 - 400

Integrity: Excavation of the successive forts at Woerden has been very limited so far, and it is certain that much of their remains are still present below the town centre. The earlier building phases will be better preserved than the later ones, but Woerden is one of few military forts in the Netherlands which have produced parts of the stone walls of the latest building period. Small-scale excavations in a wide area around the fort have demonstrated that many remains of the military vicus are still present, and also of harbour constructions along and ship wrecks in the Roman Rhine. Preserved timber is not rare, and the same is true of other organic remains.

Authenticity: This site is a relatively completely preserved example of a military settlement, with attested remains of a fort, its vicus and harbour facilities. This completeness and the preservation of organic remains are its main assets from the point of view of authenticity.

11 / Woerden / Harmelen / Harmelen-Woerden

Coordinates: 4,932434 / 52,095856

Limes road and associated structures Date: 80 - 270

Integrity: The presence of sections of a (Limes) road between Zoeterwoude in the west and Harmelen in the east has been confirmed at various locations, partly in excavations. Further research is needed to attest the precise course of the road and its preservation.

Authenticity: There is no doubt that there was a road connecting the forts on the left bank of the Rhine, between Utrecht-Hoge Woerd and Leiden-Roomburg. Based on the better documented situation immediately west of Utrecht-Hoge Woerd watchtowers may be expected along the road, and timber constructions where the road touches the Rhine channel or crosses tributaries and other wet areas. It seems that shipwrecks occur every now and then in the Rhine bed, and one or more may be present in areas protected primarily for the presence of the road. The entire assemblage of road, protective measures, watchtowers and ships constitute an extremely valuable asset of the Lower German frontier, expressing the struggle of the Roman military with the wetland conditions.

12 / Utrecht / De Meern De Balije / Veldhuizen / Zandweg

Coordinates: 5,007578 / 52,086927

Quay, ship, Limes road and associated structures / Date: 80 - 270

Integrity: In restricted areas very well preserved remains of a (Limes) road have been excavated, with additional features including bridges, revetments, watchtowers and ships. Parts of a ship, the road and quays were left untouched, and there is every reason to suppose that many similar remains are still hidden in unexcavated areas. Authenticity: This section of the Limes road is the best researched and possibly the most varied section of this infrastructural element in the Netherlands, clearly demonstrating the sensitive balance between the wetlands of the Rhine delta and the military needs. The preservation conditions of the timber elements of the road, bridges, watchtowers and ships permit the establishment of a biography of the road system with an unparalleled level of detail, indicating both large building campaigns and small-scale repairs.

13 / Utrecht De Meern / Hoge Woerd

Coordinates: 5,041391 / 52,087885

Fort, vicus and cemetery, riverside deposits Date: 40 - 400

Integrity: Excavations in the fort and military vicus have been very limited. They have demonstrated that many remains are still present, including stone walls of a military bath house. The earlier phases of the settlement are better preserved than the later ones, as usual in the Netherlands. They include preserved organic remains, especially in the silted-up river bed in front of the fort and vicus. As the Rhine has migrated away from the settlement, much of the rubbish deposits created by its inhabitants are still present. A physical marking of the fort and a small site museum have been constructed in such a way as to avoid damage to the underlying remains.

Authenticity: This site is a relatively completely preserved example of a military settlement, with attested remains of a fort, its vicus, cemeteries and riverside rubbish deposits. This completeness and the preservation of organic remains are its main assets from the point of view of authenticity. Today, the former presence of a Roman fort is marked at the surface by an earth wall with gates and towers; material and design clearly reveal that they are not meant as a reconstruction. This visible remembrance supports the sustainable protection of the underlying and surrounding Roman remains by explaining their presence.

14 Utrecht / De Meern Groot Zandveld

Coordinates: 5,05083 8 / 52,094662

Watchtower / Date: 40 - 400

Integrity: The presence of a timber watchtower has been demonstrated by excavation, but its remains have been carefully preserved.

Authenticity: Timber watchtowers are notoriously difficult to detect, and usually discovery implies destruction. This example is an exception to that rule, and therefore a very precious secure and authentic example of this rare type of installation.

15 / Utrecht / Utrecht / Domplein area

Trajectum? / Coordinates: 5,122001 / 52,090772

Fort and vicus / Date: 40 - 400

Integrity: The fort is well preserved below the remains of the medieval churches and other buildings in the town centre. Excavation has been very limited. It is one of the few sites were intact remains of the stone defensive wall from the latest building period have survived. There is every reason to believe that the remains of the military vicus are equally well preserved.

Authenticity: The Domplein area is one of the few instances in this frontier region where a former Roman military settlement became the nucleus of a thriving early medieval centre of power. The confrontation of Roman military and medieval religious spheres is presented underground in a visitor centre built which was built in a former excavation trench in order to avoid damage to the remains.

16 / Bunnik / Vechten / Vechten

Fectio / Coordinates: 5,167052 / 52,056773

Fort, vicus, cemetery, ship, riverside deposits / Date: -10 - 400

Integrity: Although the site is dominated today by a 19th-century fort the damage caused by that complex is limited. The successive Roman forts are for the most part located to the west of the modern fort, which has had more impact on the military vicus, of which many remains are nevertheless still present. Parts of the silted-up Rhine bed and the vicus were damaged by the construction of a motorway. Despite all the site is still relatively complete. Timber and other organic remains have been attested at various occasions.

Authenticity: This is the earliest and largest military site attested downstream of Nijmegen. Its location near the bifurcation of the river Vecht strongly suggests that it played a prominent part in the Germanic wars of the emperors Augustus and Tiberius. This is an important assets of its authenticity. Today, the former presence of a Roman fort is marked at the surface by a concrete band and a ditch which has been dug after the site had been raised to avoid damage; material and design clearly reveal that the marking is not meant as a reconstruction. This visible remembrance supports the sustainable protection of the underlying and surrounding Roman remains by explaining their presence.

17 / Buren / Maurik / Eiland van Maurik

Mannaricium? / Coordinates: 5,423584 / 51,970911

Re-deposited remains of an eroded fort / Date: 50 - 400

Integrity: The presence of a fort at or around this location is assumed on the basis of dredge finds. The depth at which they were found (several meters) reveals that they were eroded from their original location and re-deposited in the (silted-up) river channel. The assemblage may not have been entirely destroyed by the dredging activities, but there is no positive evidence for this. Additional research is required to establish whether any remains of the military settlement have been preserved upstream from the findspot.

Authenticity: The finds clearly indicate that they originate from a Roman fort. It is likely that this was located somewhat upstream from the findspot of the dredge finds. In itself the finds assemblage is an authentic representative of many cultural values of the eroded fort.

18 / Arnhem / Elden / Meinerswijk

Coordinates: 5,87328 / 51,971422

Fort, vicus? / Date: 10 - 400

Integrity: About two thirds of the fort and large parts of the military vicus have been eroded by the Rhine. The headquarters from the latest building phase of the fort have been superficially excavated but re-covered. They demonstrate that earlier remains will be well preserved. The same appears to apply to non-eroded parts of the vicus, judging by the results of a coring survey.

Authenticity: Its location near the bifurcation of the river Gelderse IJssel (probably the canal recorded by the historians Suetonius and Tacitus as dug by Drusus in 12-9 BC) and a dozen of early finds are generally accepted as an indication that this site played a prominent part in the Germanic wars of the emperors Augustus and Tiberius. Further, it is the only military site between Nijmegen and Vechten which has been proven to have partly escaped post-Roman erosion by the river Rhine. As such the site clearly expresses the risks of establishing a military infrastructure in a dynamic delta landscape. Today, the former presence of the headquarters of a Roman fort is marked at the surface by a construction of metal and natural stone; material and design clearly reveal that the marking is not meant as a reconstruction. This visible remembrance supports the sustainable protection of the underlying and surrounding Roman remains by explaining their presence.

19 / Rijnwaarden / Herwen / Bijlandse Waard

Carvium? / Coordinates: 6,091424 / 51,869933

Re-deposited remains of an eroded fort / Date: -10 - 270

Integrity: The assumed presence of a fort at or around this location is based on dredge finds. The depth at which they were found (several meters) reveals that they were eroded from their original location and re-deposited in the (silted-up) river channel. The assemblage may not have been entirely destroyed by the dredging activities, but there is no positive evidence for this. Additional research is required to establish whether any remains of the military settlement have been preserved upstream from the findspot.

Authenticity: Its location at the bifurcation of the rivers Rhine and Waal and the presence of some early fmds strongly suggest that this fort was built to protect the groyne recorded by the historian Tacitus as built by Drusus during his Germanic campaigns of 12-9 BC. As such it is of immense historical value, expressing the adaptation of the delta landscape to the Roman military needs.

20 / Overbetuwe / Elst / Grote Kerk

Coordinates: 5,849551 / 51,91987

Temple / Date: 0 - 270

Integrity: The Grote Kerk temple probably has the best preserved remains of a stone building from the Roman period in the frontier zone in the Netherlands. As far as they have been excavated they have been preserved below the modern church.

Authenticity: The preserved stone walls (accessible in a visitor centre) are authentic remains of a temple. Its association with the military is based on the fact that the army was involved in the provisioning of building materials, and possibly in the construction work itself.

21 / Nijmegen / Nijmegen / Valkhof area

Coordinates: 5,870304 / 51,847843

Late Roman fort / Date: 270 - 700

Integrity: Less than 20% of the fort has been excavated. Most of the fort interior was overbuilt by a fortified palace in the early medieval period, and the rare excavations in this part of the site have hardly reached the Roman levels, so their preservation is largely unknown.

Authenticity: This is the only site in the Dutch frontier zone with securely attested physical remains of a Late Roman fortification. The succession of this fort by an (early and later) medieval palace reflects the legitimation of medieval power as a continuation of Roman authority.

22 / Nijmegen / Nijmegen / Valkhof area

Oppidum Batavorum? / Coordinates: 5,871857 / 51,846462

Civil settlement Oppidum Batavorum / Date: -10 - 70

Integrity: The extent of this settlement is not precisely known, but it is evident that considerable parts are densely overbuilt today. Underneath cellars only wells, latrines and (Roman) cellars have survived, but outside modern buildings the preservation is better. The surviving parts have still the potential to generate knowledge and understanding of this settlement.

Authenticity: This settlement is considered as an administrative centre for the Batavian area, created by the Roman authorities. It is assumed that its first inhabitants were or at least included army veterans. The settlement is identified with Oppidum Batavorum, of which the historian Tacitas records that it was burnt to ashes during the Batavian revolt of AD 69-70. The site is therefore in various ways closely associated with the military history of the Rhineland.

23 / Nijmegen / Nijmegen / Hunerberg

Coordinates: 5,880507 / 51,84123

Operational base, legionary fortress, vicus and cemetery / Date: -20 - 180

Integrity: This site has been overbuilt in the early 20th century, with relatively low building densities in the northern half. Excavations have demonstrated a varying degree of damage. In all about a quarter of the site has been excavated, mainly touching the later legionary fortress and a part of its extramural settlement.

Authenticity: The large army base established during the reign of Augustus is the earliest on the frontier north of the Alps. It is a pivot between a phase in which Gaul was protected by troops stationed in its interior and a phase in which attack was considered the best defence. As such it is of major importance to the understanding of the Roman military strategy in the North and the development of the Rhine frontier. The later legionary fortress, its extramural settlement and the nearby civil town of Noviomagus constitute a triad which is a characteristic element of the northern frontier zone. At Nijmegen this assemblage is fairly well preserved and has the potential to convey knowledge and understanding of the relationship between military and civil sites in an area without an urban tradition.

24 / Nijmegen / Nijmegen Kops Plateau

Coordinates: 5,89174 / 51,83747

Fort, vicus, cemetery / Date: -10 - 70

Integrity: About two thirds of the fort have been excavated. However, the site derives its value from the overall assemblage, and substantial parts of the extramural structures, cemeteries and a rubbish deposit still remain intact. Authenticity: This early fort is in many aspects (e.g. presence of annexes, huge residential building) very atypical for the Rhine frontier. It is considered as a commanding post for the Germanic wars of Augustus in its earliest phase, and as a training and recruitment centre for Batavian cavalry or a seat for a Roman supervisor of the Batavian people in a later phase. In any of these functions the site has a unique story to tell.

25 / Berg en Dal / Nijmegen / Berg en Dal / Nijmegen / Meerwijkselaan / Mariënboom

Coordinates: 5,90747 / 51,814984

Aqueduct / Date: 70 - 180

Integrity: Large parts of earthworks considered as the remains of an aqueduct are still preserved and visible in the landscape.

Authenticity: Large linear earthworks to the southeast of the military settlement of Nijmegen-Hunerberg have been interpreted as the remains of an aqueduct. Although a water channel has not been attested so far, it is the obvious explanation on account of the available evidence. Preserved remains of a military aqueduct are very rare.

26 / Berg en Dal / Berg en Dal De Holdeurn

Coordinates: 5,931774 / 51,814883

Military tile works and pottery Date: 70 - 270

Integrity: Excavations have attested and destroyed several kilns and parts of a building. However, parts of two kilns and of the building have remained, and it is inconceivable that the excavated features are the only remains of this industrial site.

Authenticity: There is no doubt that this was the site of a tilery and pottery run by the Roman army. Military potteries and tileries have been attested at various other places, but preserved examples are rare. Such industrial sites were an indispensable element of the military infrastructure, and as such they have a special story to tell.

Justification de la Valeur Universelle Exceptionnelle

Crietrion (ii): The Lower German Limes formed part of the frontiers of the Western Roman Empire throughout its existence. As such it reflects the development of Roman military and associated civilian infrastructure from its beginnings in the last decades BC until the mid-5th century AD. The needs of the Empire moulded the regional landscapes and societies, as evidenced by water management works, industrial exploitation of natural resources, road construction and the imposition of a complex military and urban infrastructure. On the other hand the cultural and natural characteristics of the region shaped the outward appearance of the Empire, as testified by adapted designs of military settlements and buildings, and of ships and roads. Ultimately, the frontier served as a starting point for the Early Medieval civil and religious infrastructure which is at the basis of the present-day society.

Crietrion (iii): The remains of the Lower German Limes testify to the adaptive strategies of the Roman Empire in a marginal and very dynamic river landscape, to deal with the threats posed by the fragmented Germanic communities across the Rhine. As such it is an exceptional testimony to the innovative responses of a great empire to secure its territories against external groups which it found impossible to control by diplomacy.

Crietrion (iv): The Lower German Limes exhibits unique testimonies of water management strategies and constructions employed by the military command of the Roman Empire. These are exemplified by a dug canal, heavy quays and landing platforms, adapted fort designs and road sections protected by timber revetments. Buried riverine rubbish deposits constitute veritable treasure-chests of organic materials and artefacts bearing unique information on frontier life and on vanished traditions such as notably that of river boat building.

Déclarations d’authenticité et/ou d’intégrité

Authenticity

Virtually all of the component sites are underground and remain largely unexcavated. They are the original remains and as such exhibit complete authenticity. A few parts have been excavated and have then been properly conserved and presented in situ. All these elements retain their authenticity. The ex situ finds, although not part of the nomination, have been documented, conserved, and archived in a proper way and are used to help explain the properties values and as such strengthen the OUV.

Because the in situ remains of the Lower German Limes are almost all below ground and hence invisible, their value needs some form of translation in order to be understandable for the general public. This need has led to a number of innovative projects to convey these values. Several sites are presented symbolically by expressing their boundaries on the surface, after raising it with a protective layer of soil. In this way, the authenticity and integrity of the underground remains as well as the setting and integrity of the surroundings are protected. Such symbolic representations are well suited to create a minimum level of public experience of the Limes without resorting to reconstruction in its classical form.

The authenticity of the nominated property is ascertained in that it is truthfully and credibly expressed through incorporation of the full variety of Roman military and associated civilian facilities. In form and design as well as function all elements from the subsequent chronological stages of military deployment are represented at their original location. In many areas, organic remains are demonstrably or plausibly present, so that here too the authenticity is credibly expressed in materials and substance.

Integrity

The Lower German Limes is a river frontier. Although the military installations were connected by a land road, the river was explicitly part of the military infrastructure. Until recently, the Rhine was still meandering, which explains why certain sections of the Roman Rhine have not survived to the present day; in some parts the Rhine bed has already migrated during the Roman Period. Nevertheless, geological and archaeological research has revealed that the Roman river system is largely extant, along with most of the military infrastructure that is preserved below ground. Due to this location and to the high groundwater table many organic remains have been preserved in excellent condition. This provides for a very high level of archaeological integrity, with finds and features preserved in their original context in the soil matrix.

The remarkable standard of survival is not invalidated by evidence that original layers have occasionally been washed out and re-deposited by the river, both during and after the existence of the frontier. This is considered to be a normal feature of any river frontier. The Lower German Limes does not have many standing remains preserved above ground. Some remains have been brought to light during archaeological excavations or other works, but in general visible stone-built elements have been torn down and reused in the Middle Ages, as may be expected in a region lacking natural stone resources in most parts. Reused Roman stone can be traced in many Early and Late Medieval structures, adding another layer to the history of the Lower Rhine region. Architectural elements of stone as well as foundations have been preserved below ground, imparting additional significance to the exceptional organic remains.

In selecting component sites for the nomination care has been taken to include the full variety of elements that is typical for this part of the Roman frontiers, both in a chronological sense and in covering the full range of variability. In that way, the wholeness of the property is adequately represented and its intactness is further supported by the fact that only sites with substantial archaeological integrity have been selected.

Justification de la sélection de l’élément/des éléments constitutif(s) en relation avec la future proposition d’inscription dans son ensemble

The selection of component sites is in keeping with the principles agreed upon in 2004 by the States Parties involved in the anticipated extension of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage property: to select the frontier lines of the 2nd century AD, and military installation of different (Roman) periods which are on that line, and to include military installations, road infrastructure, artificial barriers and immediately associated civil structures (Koblenz Declaration, attached to ref. 430bis). This declaration served as a point of departure for the 2017 thematic study.

The site selection of the Lower German Limes reflects its full chronological and functional variety. It includes military fortifications from all (Roman) periods, ranging from watchtowers to large legionary bases, and the land and riverine infrastructure connecting them. Various features exemplify the wetland character of this river frontier section. The needs of the military are illustrated by industrial sites, military sanctuaries and an aqueduct, while the provincial governor's palace, fortified small towns and settlements outside forts demonstrate the dovetailing of the military and civilian worlds in the frontier landscape.

Comparaison avec d’autres biens similaires

In the context of the preparation of a number of proposals for extensions from several States Parties to the serial transnational property Frontiers of the Roman Empire, a thematic study has been undertaken by involved States Parties in Europe on the basis of which an overall nomination strategy has been developed for the whole Roman frontiers and a detailed strategy for the European section of the Roman frontier. The World Heritage Committee has taken note of this nomination strategy at its 41st session at Kraków (41 COM 8B.50).

In the thematic study and nomination strategy five discrete groups of frontiers have been distinguished (names of Roman provinces in italics):

- The desert frontier of Africa, Egypt, Arabia and southern Syria served to protect long distance trade routes crossing the desert and to control the nomadic tribes of the region. Within this group there is some regional variety, with for instance some artificial barriers and mountainous sections in Africa and a deviating positioning of military installations in Egypt.

- The Parthian frontier of northern Syria and Cappadocia (Turkey) combines a river and a mountain frontier and served as the military backbone for the Roman claims on Armenia and Mesopotamia, which were disputed by the Parthian Empire.

- The river frontier of the Rhine and Danube separated the Roman Empire from areas which it considered as `barbaric' and outreached its powers or interests. Varying natural conditions and threats are reflected in regional differences in size, design and spacing of military installations.

- The artificial barriers of Hadrian's Wall, the Antonine Wall, the Upper German-Raetian Limes — constituting the already inscribed World Heritage property (ref. 430ter) — were built where no convenient rivers were available to constitute a frontier line.

- The mixed frontier of the Roman province of Dacia (Romania) provides an unparalleled mixture of military responses to natural and political conditions. It combines sections of mountain and river frontiers with long and short linear barriers.

Further, it was argued that the river frontiers of Rhine and Danube have different characteristics justifying nomination as distinct properties. The Danube frontier outstandingly demonstrates the evolution of Roman military responses to external pressure and has many standing remains illustrating the longest survival of a river frontier. The Lower German Limes (Rhine) represents the very beginning of the linear perimeter defence of the Roman Empire and is a wetland frontier.

Thus, although part of a coherent frontier system spanning three continents, the Lower German Limes has distinct characteristics emanating from innovative responses to local natural and political conditions.