THE A19-PROJECT: INTRODUCTION


Aerial photographs of the existing A19 motorway between Courtrai and Ypres.

In 2002, new plans were announced for the extension of the A19 motorway connecting Courtrai (Kortrijk, Western Flanders) with Ypres (Ieper, Western Flanders). The projected path of this highway would run through the battlefield. In April of that same year, the Institute for the Archaeological Heritage of the Flemish Community (Instituut voor het Archeologisch Patrimonium, I.A.P.) received a special commission from the Minister of Interior Affairs, Culture, Youth, and Civil Administration for the Flemish Community, Paul van Grembergen to undertake a detailed archaeological evaluation of the area. What was still preserved beneath the surface? Which remains of the First World War and other periods could be localised? Could the area of the future A19 be considered for protection? On the one hand the minister wished to have a number of carefully selected areas excavated. On the other hand he asked for an international commission of experts to be appointed whose task it would be to compile a report on the significance of the region during the First World War.