The 2002 excavation of the Roman villa of Kerkrade-Holzkuil revealed a complex consisting of several buildings arranged around a central courtyard. The principal house and the entrance building were located on the central axis of the U-shaped complex. Next to the main house two buildings were erected: a stable and a house that was probably intended for the farm manager. On the sides of the courtyard a granary, stables and other constructions for practical use were built, along with a threshing floor. Together with the architectural remains clear indications of the courtyard’s original layout featuring a well, a pond and a system of roads and paths were found.
The city of Kerkrade commissioned the scientifically based reconstruction of the complex by Dr. Ing. Kees Peterse of PANSA BV. He was given the opportunity to initiate the reconstruction analysis while the excavations were still on going. This fortunate timing enabled a continuous and fruitful exchange of archaeological data between the excavator in charge, Drs. Gerard Tichelman, and Dr. Peterse. The latter’s scientific analysis resulted in the most detailed reconstruction of a Roman villa in the Netherlands so far.
The PANSA BV reconstruction is based on all material traces as well as other relevant sources. The layout of the villa was indicated by so-called robber trenches, stone foundations and, occasionally, parts of standing walls. Of mayor importance to the reconstruction were the excavated remains of the architectural stonework, like parts of column shafts and capitals. Dr. Peterse identified these remains and determined their position in the original design. The reconstruction analysis resulted in a scientifically based image of the villa’s exterior and interior. The analysis also contributed significantly to the determination of the sequence of building phases.
The results of the reconstruction work were presented during the 2005 National Archaeological Congress (Reuvensdagen) in Nijmegen (NL). In his contribution Dr. Peterse emphasised the surprising results, such as the striking contrast between the principal house’ first design and its remodelling at a later date. The former was of a low profile utilitarian nature, whereas the latter was intended to make the villa comply with the standards of elite architecture. This contrast becomes most evident by comparing the principal house’ central work space to the luxurious bath suite, which was built on the spot where traditionally one of the corner pavilions was located.
The reconstruction of the villa of Kerkrade-Holzkuil is shown in a DVD-production, created also by PANSA BV. The DVD contains a 10 minutes video clip showing the villa complex from the air and offering a tour through the fully detailed interior spaces of the villa’s principal house. The DVD also contains an interactive part, allowing for individual exploration of the villa complex and providing background information on a range of related subjects. This part of the DVD is accompanied by photo realistic computer stills and QuickTime panoramas made by PANSA BV’s computer artist Ir. Gerard Jonker. The DVD is available through the Museum Het Valkhof bookshop in Nijmegen (www.museumhetvalkhof.nl).