Painting/mapping the medieval landscape. A landscape-archaeological analysis of the medieval landscape around Bruges as depicted by Pieter Pourbus

Het geschilderde landschap in kaart. Een landschapsarcheologische analyse van de het middeleeuwse landschap rond Brugge, geschilderd door Pieter Pourbus
Begin - Einde 
2017 - 2022 (afgewerkt)
Vakgroep Archeologie
Vakgroep Geschiedenis



During the Middle Ages, the metropolis of Bruges thrived through its oversea trade. A large tidal
inlet – called Zwin – provided a navigable passage from the North Sea, through the wetlands, to
heart of the city. In the middle of the 16th century, the Eighty Years War (1568-1648) transformed
the Zwin area from an axis of trade into a frontline of war. Of course, this had a profound impact
on the environment. At the start of this sudden landscape transformation, painter-cartographer
Pieter Pourbus portrayed the countryside of Bruges with a unique level of detail, accuracy and
scale. Although this painted map is often used as an illustration, it has remained incomprehensibly
understudied. In general, studies of historical maps have mainly focussed on the iconography of
city maps on the one hand, or on the geometric accuracy of relatively recent mapped landscapes
on the other. Moreover, recent research has shown that the current landscape-historical
narratives of this part of the North Sea area are severely outdated. In order to fill these gaps and
study this unique landscape through this unique painting, we will merge newly developed digital
techniques from art history and geography, and complement this with a renewed archaeological
and historical survey of the region. By unlocking the details of the painted map, we will make an
invisible landscape reappear, and unveil the historical, archaeological and environmental records
of this remarkable manmade landscape.




Postdoctorale medewerker(s)