In the twentieth century, thousands of archaeological excavations and projects took place in the Netherlands. In many cases, the results were not documented thoroughly. Finds and documents sometimes vanished into boxes and drawers. In recent years, thirty-one of these ‘forgotten’ excavations have been re-examined with the aid of new technology and financial support from the OCW (the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science) and NWO (the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research), in cooperation with the RCE (the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands). This exhibition presents the results.
Thirty-one stories about the Dutch past
This exhibition will introduce you to thirty-one archaeological projects unknown to the public until now, as well as a digitization project. Together, the objects, drawings, and photographs on display tell remarkable stories about the Dutch past. You will find out about the discoveries Dutch archaeologists have made, in earlier generations and in our own time.
New research on old excavations
The usual reason for leaving archaeological research projects unfinished was a lack of time and money. After they were abandoned, these excavations had to wait many years to be rediscovered. In the past four years, these projects have served as springboards for exciting new explorations of archives and storage spaces. Contemporary researchers have delved into dusty boxes and folders, retrieving finds, drawings, photographs, and documentation and making unexpected discoveries.
Odyssey: a voyage home
For this project of restoring forgotten excavations to life, NWO chose the name Odyssey, because important information about our past is finally coming home, like the Greek hero Odysseus after his mythical voyage.
Projects throughout the Netherlands
The thirty-one selected projects have roots throughout the Netherlands; some were carried out more than a hundred years ago. Their locations include Aardenburg (Zeeland), Ezinge (Groningen), Nijmegen (Gelderland), Rhenen (Utrecht), Lake Bergumer (Friesland), Flevoland, and Dorestad/Wijk bij Duurstede (Utrecht). The archaeological sites and finds include an urnfield on the Boshoverheide (Limburg), Roman forts near Velsen (North Holland), the River Vecht near Dalfsen (Overijssel), Roman burial grounds near Oss (North Brabant), Mierlo (North Brabant), and Geleen (Limburg), the Zutphen city centre (Gelderland), and a historic shipwreck off the coast of the island of Texel (North Holland).