Extensive remains of the Roman forum and other major
Part of the most important collection of Roman bronzes in
During the 1940 invasion, a bombing raid badly
damaged part of the border town of Bavay, leading to the
chance discovery of Roman remains.
Capital city of Roman
The site was extensively excavated by archaeologists
after the war. They were able to identify what they
unearthed as a large Gallo-Roman forum - the town
square and market place.
From Roman writings, they knew this was "Bagacum"
- once the capital city of the old Belgic tribe, the Nervii.
In Roman Belgium, it was an important military post, trading
and administrative centre with law courts.
Biggest forum outside
The Romans built the largest forum outside
Italy right here in the town: it was a gigantic public
building, 200 metres long by120 metres wide! Archaeologists
found the complete foundations of a basilica - the
Roman "town hall", an underground gallery, and porticos of
other buildings - making it one of the best finds of Roman
remains in France.
Centre of Roman road
Seven straight Roman roads met at Bavay, linking the
town with Gaul (France) to the south and west, to Belgium
and to Cologne in Germany - making it an important
The archaeologists found traces of the ruts in the forum,
where carts and pedestrians had followed these routes across
the town centre.
An exhibition in the site museum shows many of the key finds
discovered by archaeologists - bronzes, ceramics, pottery
and glass. These include pots, vases and dishes
representions of Roman gods - made in potteries at Bavay.
Many small bronze figures were also found from a hoard
hidden by a local bronze-founder.
See life in Gaul under
Now the museum has reconstructed the Gallo-Roman site in 3D
computer graphics, just as it existed in the second century
AD. You can see what life was really like in Gaul under the
The award-winning interactive show
"Return to Bagacum" is based on archaeological
evidence about trade, religion and craft manufacturing, told
as a vivid fictional story:
Julie is seeking to publish her thesis
on archaeology; she is rather too interested in a statuette
of Mercury. By magic, she finds herself back in the second
century AD. Her mission is to return to the present
with a bit of help from the
YOU can join in and
change the story
In the audio-visual theatre, you'll see a vast
screen, with filmed actors set in digital modelling
of the dwellings and buildings around the forum, using
reconstructions of everyday objects found at the site. You
can hear the commentary in a choice of languages,
Scenes from the interactive show, mixing real actors on film
and 3D computer reconstructions of Roman Bavay, based on
archaeological findings. (Left
to Right: Roman Forum, shops, a
Roman religious service.)
The story moves through the shops
and their crafts such as basketwork, pottery,
shoemaking; the public activities - trials and
Each spectator has a joystick and buttons
at their seat to influence the course of the show and help
Julie achieve her mission!.
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Location: 2 rue de
Gommeries, BP41 59570 BAVAY
In the town centre.
Rough guide to opening:
OPEN daily, CLOSED Tuesdays
April - Sept 9am - 6pm
Oct - March,
weekdays (not Tue) : 9am-12.30 and 2-6pm
Sat / Sun: 10.30-12.30am and 2-6pm
Tel: 00 33 3 27 63 13 95