Arjan den Braven
PhD candidate/Guest Staff Member
Charlemagne’s palace at Nijmegen. Its creation and impact
Supervisor: Prof. dr. F.C.W.J. Theuws
In 2009 Arjan graduated in Archaeology at the University of Amsterdam. In his MA-thesis he discusses the early medieval features and find material of several excavation trenches along the Waalkade of Nijmegen. The analysis of these excavations provided new insights in the material culture, the settlement history and urbanization process of medieval Nijmegen. Arjan has worked several years as an archaeologist for the municipality Zutphen (2007) and Nijmegen (2008-2013).
Arjan is part of the research group related to the NWO-project ‘Charlemagne’s Backyard? Rural society in the Netherlands in the Carolingian Age. An archaeological perspective’ of Prof. dr. Frans Theuws (Leiden University) and Prof. dr. Mayke de Jong (Utrecht University). This research group consists of three Archaeology PhD candidates (Leiden University) and one postdoctoral historical researcher (Utrecht University). The team aims to create new images of the nature of the Carolingian economy based on archaeological data from the Netherlands, combined with a study of written evidence concerning manorialisation and landholding. Within this research, Arjan focuses on the archaeological data of Nijmegen and its environs. Nijmegen was one of the more important Carolingian palaces. As early as 777 it was the place where Charlemagne celebrated Easter, and according to Einhard it was ‘a magnificent palace’. For decades, the palace of Nijmegen has captured the imagination of historians and archaeologists. Almost nothing is known of the original palace itself, but several features dating from the Carolingian period are excavated in the immediate environs. The archaeological data are crucial for an understanding of the totality of the palatium. They offer the possibility to analyse the impact of the creation of a Carolingian palatium on rural structures in its environment.