History Files







The Kemmelberg is a forested tertiary 'witness' hill in southern West-Flanders (Belgium). It dominates the landscape, offering far-reaching views to the North Sea dunes in the north and France's Artesian plateau to the south. Human presence goes back to the late Neanderthal period.

Some six thousand years ago, the first farmers settled on and around the hill. Around 450 BC, a Celtic elite transformed the strategic hill into a hill fort: the Kemmelberg.

A large number of archaeological finds cover the periods mentioned, demonstrating the presence of these inhabitants. At the end of the First World War, the Kemmelberg was the scene of very intense fighting, resulting in extensive destruction. During the Cold War, a command bunker was built into the hill's flanks, in 1953.

Peace has returned in recent decades, and the landscape is recovering. Large areas have been reforested and there are many recreational options, such as walking, cycling, and horse riding. With its steep slopes - a rate of increase of up to 22% - the Kemmelberg is often climbed by professional cyclists and cycle tourists.

The Kemmelberg's landscape and archaeological site are protected by the Flemish government.

Archeo Kemmelberg logo

The Archeo Kemmelberg team consists of Jean-Luc Putman, Marc Soenen, Philippe Vercoutter, Hugo Wildemeersch, and William Willems.

The translation team includes: Peter Kessler (Kessler Associates Proofreading & Translations), ENG; Luc Louys, FRA; and Martin Ott, GER.