During the Roman period, the northern parts of the Belgian provinces of East- and West-Flanders together with the Dutch province of Zeeland formed the northern parts of the so called civitas Menapiorum. This civitas was an administrative and political division of the Roman province of Gallia Belgica.
Based on the increase of archaeological research in this area during the last 10 years, the region appears to have been mostly rural, occupied by of slightly romanized peasants living on the border of the Roman Empire. The major aim of this research is to provide insight into the transformation processes of these communities during the Roman period based on information from everyday life and material culture. To do so, the characterization and development of local building traditions and local handmade pottery was essential. It was also necessary to place these rural peasant-communities in a broader socio-economic and historical framework in order to better understand their integration process within Roman spheres of influence. Their relationship with the landscape is essential for these peasant societies, especially when taxation forced them to exploit the landscape in a more intensive way that broke with their autarkic way of life and resulted in major problems around 200 AD. During this period of change, these communities were integrated in the Roman Empire. Together with the growing Roman influence, elements of traditional local identity were cherished, renewed and reinforced to form one of the typical ‘Gallo-Roman’ communities.