Colloque – Ad Brudgias Portum Bruges’ medieval port system as a maritime cultural landscape

Sailing into the Zwin sea-arm along its urbanised fringes towards Bruges must have been the medieval equivalent of sailing now onto the rivers Hudson or Thames. As an international gateway for goods, people and thoughts, the Bruges’ harbour system can be considered as a complex, dynamic maritime cultural landscape. It represents an internally and externally interconnected network of small and larger ports, all lined along the Zwin tidal inlet, sheltering local people as well as resident or transient foreigners. As such, a specific cultural environment developed which is reflected in art, architecture but also in everyday material culture, the whole being highly dependent on the maritime connectivity of the system.

Interdisciplinary research conducted over the last 10 years and embracing a wide array of archaeological, historical and geomorphological methods, has now shed a new light on Bruges’ harbour network. The socio-economic development as well as the morphology and material culture of the harbour network along the tidal inlet have been at the centre of this study. With this international symposium the organisers wish to present their results to a wider scientific audience, but foremost they aim to frame the Bruges’ project into a wider, international maritime context of interdisciplinary research on maritime cultural port-landscapes.


Programme :

Tuesday 23rd of October

Registration & Welcome @ City Hall (9h00 – 10h10)
Coffee & word of welcome offered by the Mayor of Bruges, Renaat Landuyt

Session 1: Bruges and its maritime cultural landscape (chaired by Wim De Clercq) @ Groeningemuseum (10h45 – 13h00)

Wim De Clercq – Introduction & opening of the conference
Christer Westerdahl – Keynote : Bruges and its corridor. The maritime cultural landscape
Jan Trachet – Inland Outports. An interdisciplinary study of medieval harbour sites in the Zwin region
Jan Dumolyn & Bart Lambert – Ports and Power: Bruges, the Zwin Mouth and the Staple System in the Later Middle Ages
Lunch (13h00 – 14h00)

Session 2: The Zwin and its tidal harbour system (chaired by Jari Mikkelsen) @ Groeningemuseum (14h00 – 17h30)

Adrie De Kraker – Keynote The dynamic landscape of the Zwin inlet or how to preserve the Sluis-Bruges access navigable, 1000 – 1600
Wim De Clercq & Roland Dreesen – Ballasting the Hanse. Baltoscandian Erratic Cobbles in the Later Medieval Port Landscape of Bruges
Kristiaan Dillen – Origins and consequences of subaltern relations in a medieval portuary system in Flanders: the case of Hoeke
Nathalie de Visser – Recycling the past. An assessment of recent archeaological research in the medieval ports of Flanders at Hulst, Axel and Sluis
Dante de Ruijsscher – Destroyed & Destructed. An interdisciplinary study of the drowned harbour of Coxyde
Ward Leloup – Cities, Counts and Merchants. Conflicts of Interest in the Zwin Region and the Foundation of Sluis (ca. 1280-1324)
Frederik D’Hondt – Title to be confirmed

Evelien Hauwaerts – A miserable Italian in Bruges and his manuscript with the oldest map of Flanders

Poster session (17u30 – 18h00) @ Groeningemuseum

Drink (18h -19h30) @ Groeningemuseum

Wednesday 24th of October

Excursion in the Zwin harbour landscape (9h00 – 13h00)

Coffee & word of welcome offered by the Mayor of Damme, Joachim Coens

Lunch @ Zwin Nature Reserve (13h00 – 14h00)

Session 3: Connection Ports & People (chaired by Jan Trachet) @ Zwin Nature Reserve (14h00 – 17h30)

Synnøve Midtbø Myking – Money deposits and shipwrecked saints: the Norwegian presence in medieval Bruges
Vincent Debonne – Architectural exchange between Hanseatic cities. Brick, Bruges and Lübeck
Dries Tys – Small-scale and local port infrastructure in coastal Flanders: about landing places, wharfs, hyths and Ydes in late-medieval Flanders
Marcel IJsselstijn – Markets and ports in perspective. The development of the town plans of Utrecht and Amsterdam until c. 1560.
Cosimo Damiano Diella & Sara Murgolo – The medieval ports of Barletta and Ariscianne between written, cartographic and archaeological sources
Francesca Carboni – Ad navigia trahenda vel veranda. The port of Recanati (Marche, Italy) between the 13th and the 15th century

Conference dinner @ Le Panier d’or, Bruges (20h00 – 22h00)

Thursday 25th of October

Session 4: The material culture of gateway communities (chaired by Maxime Poulain) @ Groeningemuseum (10h00 – 13h00)

Bieke Hillewaert – Keynote: The obvious, the barely suspected, and the unknown
Jeroen Vermeersch – Late medieval ships from the Scheldt basin. The cases of Doel and Hulst
Roland Dreesen, Michel Dussar & Vincent Debonne – Stony migrants in Bruges’ port landscape during medieval times
Geert Verbrugghe – Trade of stone mortars across the Channel and the North Sea
Ben Jervis – Keynote: Possessions and Maritime Identities: Archaeological and historical perspectives on the material culture of port households in medieval England
Stuart Whatley – Burghers, Merchants and Servants. Material culture in the Medieval Port community of Copenhagen
Kristof Haneca – Timber supply in a growing medieval city
Jan Dumolyn – Conclusions and closure of the conference

Informations pratiques :

Main Venue: Groeninge Museum. The main venue of this conference is the Groeninge Museum, home of many Flemish Masters, and situated in the heart of the historic centre of Bruges.

Second Venue: Zwin Nature Reserve. In the afternoon of day two, the Zwin Nature Reserve offers a venue for the conference afternoon session. This Nature Parc is situated near the North Sea coast and will give the ideal tidal landscape for this conference.

Please contact for questions and remarks.

Source : Universiteit Gent

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