North Sea finds

9 July until 15 September 2014

Axe, reindeer antler and  hand axeAxe, reindeer antler and hand axe
Figure 1: hand axe by Neanderthals (70,000–50,000 years ago | donor: Lambrechts)Figure 1: hand axe by Neanderthals (70,000–50,000 years ago | donor: Lambrechts)
Figure 2: axe from the Mesolithic (9,000–7,000 years ago | donors: Wolters and Post/Hoekman/Mol/North Sea fossils)Figure 2: axe from the Mesolithic (9,000–7,000 years ago | donors: Wolters and Post/Hoekman/Mol/North Sea fossils)
Figure 3: reindeer antler carved with a face (620–770 AD | donor: Lambrechts)Figure 3: reindeer antler carved with a face (620–770 AD | donor: Lambrechts)

In the past year, several donors have presented the National Museum of Antiquities with objects found in the sands of the North Sea. The finds date from different periods, from the Paleolithic Era to the Middle Ages, from 50,000 to about 1,500 years ago. The objects have been incorporated into the museum's North Sea collection and are now on show together.

  • Until mid-September 2014, you can see the North Sea finds in a display case in the museum’s entrance hall, next to the Egyptian temple.

From the hand axe to the Early Middle Ages

Four objects are on display in the case: 

  • a hand axe made and used by Neanderthals (70,000–50,000 years ago; fig. 1) donor: Lambrechts
  • two flint and antler axes from the Mesolithic (9,000–7,000 years ago; fig. 2) donors: Wolters and Post/Hoekman/Mol/North Sea fossils
  • reindeer antlers carved with a face from the Early Middle Ages (620–770 AD; fig. 3) donor: Lambrechts 

‹ Click on the photographs for enlarged versions | click on the arrows for the next photograph

Submerged land

All the finds come from the North Sea. During the Ice Age, the North Sea was dry: animals, Neanderthals, and Homo sapiens could walk from the Netherlands to England. Approximately 10,000 years ago, melting ice slowly filled the North Sea basin. That submerged landscape still holds many treasures, a few of which are on display here.