TELEMHA - The Ecclesiastical Landscape of Early Medieval North Gaul : History and Archaeology


13 octobre 2017


The first round table of TELEMHA - The Ecclesiastical Landscape of Early Medieval North Gaul : History and Archaeology to be held on Friday 13th October, launches a joint Lille 3 and UCL Louvain-la-Neuve cooperation project, aiming at fostering interregional mobility, under the direction of Prof. Charles Mériaux (Lille 3-FR), Paul Bertrand and Laurent Verslype (UCL-BEL).

In a short term, the TELEMHA project aims at launching a joint research network about early medieval history and archaeology, in a long-term perspective (from late Antiquity until the 12th cent. AD), associating three research institutes of the Universities of Louvain and Lille as well as French and Belgian archaeological institutions. It also aims at promoting exchanges between Master students in history and archaeology and between PhD students. The relevance of such a bi-national project is based on the fact that North Gaul was then a homogeneous administrative and ecclestiastical area, crossing the contemporaneous borders.

From the scientific point of view, in a medium term, TELEMHA intend to reconsider the “secondary” early medieval religious places. Our good knowledge of the late antique and early medieval episcopal cities through the writtens sources and sometimes the archaeological vestiges (such as in Tournai or Seclin) leads today some historians to assert that they’ve been the single administrative poles until the 11th cent. AD in their respective dioceses, while no subordinate institution (deanery, archdeaconry) was already trully rooted in the countryside. However, texts and archaeological discoveries are though stressing the early emergence of secondary poles. Researches led by our institutes, centers and laboratories, by our PhD as by our Master students, might help to assess and describe that phenomenon (churches, rural and peri-urban settlements), to explain and contextualize the emerging ecclesiastical network (prexisting antique settlements, links with the coastal, fluvial and road networks), and to examine more precisely the religious fonctions associated to them (cult of the saints, dime and tax perceptions, clergy). It will define their institutionalization degree.

Our project is based on both archeological and historical inputs, which is a condition to get a better understanding of the social networking of our territory in the early Middle Ages. TELEMHA’s first goal is to work on study cases identified in regional written and documentary sources and during archaeological field researches. A second step, depending on the preliminary results, will develop into a wider project in a comparing perspective with adjacent or more distant areas (British islands, Germanic world, Italy, Iberia). The program of our first meeting is now available.




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