As part of the public procurement opened by the Brussels-Capital Region, the CReA-Patrimoine of the Université libre de Bruxelles in collaboration with the Royal Society of Archaeology of Brussels carried out, from January to April 2014, an excavation at the intersection of Avenue Van Becelaere and Rue du Bien-Faire in Watermael-Boitsfort. The intervention involved a complete excavation of the basement of the Van Becelaere communal playground before its temporary destruction to allow the construction of a stormwater tank. The area concerned is classified as a site with high archaeological potential because of its location close to the medieval centre of the village of Watermael. The old plans indicate the presence of two buildings on the site. The first, corresponding to the main building of a farm, develops along the street front. The second, located at the back of the plot, was accessible via a now defunct side road called Diepeweg. This farm could be an outbuilding of the Gulde Casteel, also known as Manoir De Vleughe, a 16th century pleasure castle that disappeared around 1820 with few traces in the archives. The buildings remained in existence until 1968 when they were destroyed during a campaign against housing squalor. The new real estate project planned by the municipality was never carried out and the land was abandoned until 1975, when the Van Becelaere playground was built.
The field intervention made it possible to trace the evolution of a farm and dwellings from the Middle Ages to the present day. In total, five main phases have been defined, ranging from the 16th century to the 20th century.
Fig. 1. General view of the oldest structures encountered in Building I (photo S. Byl © SPRB).