Dykes as Ideological Markers: Embankment and State Formation in the Salt Marshes of Flanders: Dries Tys

The first embankments in coastal Flanders were initiated by the early Counts of Flanders (family of the dynasty of Wessex). They made the choice to embank the salt marshes, which not only marked a new perception of and strategy towards the environment, but also the emergence of impressive comital estates.

These dykes where so much more than defensive functional elements against the tides, they also acted as social and political markers, through which the counts’ administration interacted with other social groups in coastal Flanders (the so called Maritimi Flandrenses). They embodied new power, and new ways of life, and were as such important symbols of early state formation by the powerful dynasty of the Counts of Flanders.

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