The site of the Château des Fées castle
B-6880 Mortehan (Bertrix)
The ruins of the fairy castle or "château des fées" go back to Roman times. Archaeological remains discovered during digs attest to the occupation of the site from the third or fourth to the eleventh or twelfth century. On the road from Mortehan to Bertrix (Munos route) - Signposted walk. (Text source by MT du Pays de Bouillon).The Semois river and its affluents have made sites that are favourable to setting up shelters for the Celtic, Roman and other people, in the schiost-rock. The site is a spur enclosed in the confluent of two brooks, and it is separated from the main peak by a a small dry valley that joins the two valleys.
Archaeological works were made in 1972 and they enabled to find the ruins of a fortifications that was used as a strategical place to control a North - South nature way (the plateau of Recogne). The gate, the walls, a donjon and the rests of a home were discovered. The fortification was egg-shaped and its inside part rose in several terraces.
Three successive periods of fitting can be distinguished. The first fitting corresponds to a wooden wall, impossible to date. Afterwhat, the site was supported by a wall made with dry stones, at the place of the wooden walls likely from the Roman period on, and a massive tower (3rd and 4th centuries). Then, at the 11th and 12th centuries, a wide donjon and a strenghtening of the wall were achieved.
So, the site has been occuped during several centuries. The objets that were discovered date back to the Gallo-Roman period and until the 11th and 12th centuries. The archaeoligist think that at the Gallo-Roman period, this fortification might have been defended by Barbarian troops, the Letes, who were established in the area up to Yvoix - Carignan towards the end of the 3rd century by Emperor Maximian Hercules.
At the 18th century, the site became a redoubt ( a fortification system that consisted in a strenghtened defensive place inside a wider fort) on request of King Louis 14 in 1706. It was part of an whole of defensive forts long the Semois, such as the Liresse castle in Vivy or the Poivrière in Florenville. The 28 posts are notably called in a mandate of King Louis 14 dated 1706 that is kept in the Archives Nationales in Paris