musée d
Museum of Archaeology

rue des Carmes 8
7500 Tournai
Tel. : +32 69 22 16 72
email :
Quaternary section : prehistory - protohistory

There, two million years are presented : man's environment and origin. Didactic displays and scale models go over the different steps of human evolution, the new techniques for making flint implements, the advent of agriculture and of the first pieces of pottery, the discovery of metal leading to the making of more efficient weapons.

Beside the local and regional industries (Mousterian of Grandglise, settlements of Brunehaut, Orcq, Marquain), there are also several remarkable foreign pieces : handaxes from Africa, French Aurignacian and Perigordian lithic series, flint daggers from the French site of Grand-Pressigny. Two glass cases present a unique set of gold and silver Celtic coins.
Gallo-Roman section

As the artefacts discovered previously were destroyed in 1940, the presented collections come essentially from recent excavations made in the large gallo-roman necropolis that spread from the Market Place to Rue Perdue. From common everyday plates and dishes to luxurious sigillates, the exhibited pottery forms a rich set.
Because of its fragility, only little glass-ware is to be seen. Yet, some very fine specimens are presented, among them a glass feeding-bottle from the IVth century, the quality of its marking contrasts with that of the ceramic one. Jewels, namely beautiful intaglios, small jet articles, writing-tablets, a planetary vase, utilitarian metallic tools, etc. complete this presentation of the gallo-roman everyday life. Two unique and exceptional pieces are the most interesting ones of this section and of the museum : a hollowed tree well (Ist/IInd centuries) and the famous nicely decorated lead sarcophagus (IVth century) that was excavated quite undamaged.
Merovingian section

Childeric's grave was discovered in Tournai in 1653. Though none of the records found in his grave can be seen in the museum, the recently created merovingian section is most interesting. The exhibited pieces come from two cemeteries : the one of the Town Hall Park and the one near Saint-Brice's church -around the site of the royal grave. They are actually typical remains of the VIth and VIIth centuries : weapons, pottery, glass-ware, jewels, etc. An exceptional discovery was made near Saint-Brice's church : three pits containing skeletons of horses, that had most probably been sacrificed during Childeric's funeral ceremonies. Their number was very large (at least around twenty), whereas they generally numbered five at the most. Remains of a Germanic garrison in charged of the protection of Tournai at the end of the IVth century were found in the cemetery of the Town Hall Park. This kind of archaeological discovery does not happen very often. It appears as the transition between the Roman world and the Middle Ages. One should also notice a letter by Louis XIV relating to Childeric's treasure, and another one, much older, written by Saint-Remy to Clovis after Childeric's death. Photographic documents give an idea of the richness of the royal grave, and wall panels remind of the tragic events of the big Barbarian invasions in 407, Clovis conquests and the creation of his Frankish kingdom, cradle of France. A screened glass case protects a few jewels of that time, during which goldsmith's craft was a top art.