Archaeologists discover ancient Roman temple

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient Roman sanctuary with a relatively intact Roman temple in the Dutch central-east Gelderland province, the country’s cultural heritage agency said, describing the find as “exceptional”.

Volunteers made the first discovery in 2021 in a city near Unesco World Heritage Roman Limes – which represents the border line of the Roman empire at its greatest extent in the 2nd century AD – and alerted the agency.

“There used to be several temples here. We have found remains of idols, reliefs and painted plaster,” it said in a statement.

“This is very exceptional (not only) for the Netherlands, but also internationally” it said, adding that while several Roman sanctuaries were known in the Netherlands, this was the first such complete complex and temple found.

Among the artifacts discovered in the ruins were the remains of statues of deities, as well as pits where Roman soldiers lit large, sacrificial fires. Painted plasterwork, cloak pins, roof tiles marked with inscriptions were also among the finds.

Based on the types of inscriptions on the roof tiles, archaeologists believe the temple complex was mainly used by soldiers — as the military was responsible at the time for manufacturing the roof tiles.

Various pieces from the site will be displayed at the Valkhof Museum in Nijmegen, the largest city in Gelderland.