Die römerzeitlichen Grabbauten aus Orolaunum vicus/Arlon (Funerary Monuments from Orolaunum vicus/Arlon)


The topic of the thesis is the funerary architecture attributable to the Roman vicus of nowadays Arlon in southern Belgium. The aim is to reconstruct this exceptional historical source and to provide an architectural-historical evaluation of the material.

The over 400 fragments of funerary monuments from the ancient vicus Orolaunum are one of the largest collections of Roman funeral art in our region. They provide insights into the culture, beliefs, technical knowledge and trade connections of the local populations in Roman times. The monuments from the early Roman period (1st cent. AD), that are in the center of the study, are particularly instructive, as they date from a period of profound societal changes, i.e. the period after the Roman conquest. The monuments from that period indicate how the local populations reacted to the culture of the conquerors, how they adapted, transformed or rejected the new cultural influences. Recent studies have shown that as from the early first century AD on large scale mausolea inspired by Mediterranean public and memorial architecture were built in this area (Bartringen, Faverolles, Orange, etc.). Parallels to the fragments from Arlon indicate that similar structures must have existed in the ancient vicus, thus indicating the level of wealth and familiarity with Roman-Greek architectural forms that must have existed at that time in the area.

With the aid of digital 3D-tools the original monuments, nowadays only preserved in isolated fragments, will be reconstructed. They will be evaluated within their regional context and the wider context of the Roman Empire. Based on the reconstructions, the general development of early Roman funeral architecture in a rural agglomeration will be analysed. This will allow to retrace influences from other regions and to identify genuine local characteristics.

The PhD-Thesis is part of an international Joint-Project between the University of Luxembourg (A. Binsfeld) and the Austrian Academy of Sciences (G. Kremer).


Doctoral candidate:
Christine Ruppert

Andrea Binsfeld
Thekla Schulz-Brize