Sunday 18 August 2019

Archaeologists uncover ‘spectacular’ shipwreck graveyard

The Meuse river near Gennep. Photo: Michielverbeek via Wikimedia Commons

Archaeologists have discovered a ‘spectacular’ graveyard of shipwrecks in the flood plains of the river Meuse.

‘It is one of the largest if not the largest graveyard of its kind ever found in the Netherlands,’ a spokesman for cultural heritage organisation RCE told the Volkskrant. .

Apart from the wrecks, archaeologists found the remains of a Roman temple as well as a multitude of other artifacts.

Public broadcaster NOS also mentions the remains of mammoths which were found spread out over the 275 hectare site between Alphen en Dreumel which at present is used for sand and clay extraction.

Dog walker

Nils Kerkhoven, one of the archaeologists involved, regularly walked his dog there and thought the area had possibilities in spite of having been probed to no effect ahead of the extraction work, NOS writes.

He petitioned the project developer for permission to dig. This became the start of what the archaeologists describe as ‘a crazy adventure of 18 volunteers at the biggest and richest archaeological site of the Netherlands’.

The team, consisting of two professional and 16 amateur archaeologists, were active at the site for seven years. That made the project truly ‘archaeology for the people and by the people,’ NOS quotes them as saying.

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