Possible archaeological finds mapped out in flood plains
Published: 1 July 2014
Information is now available online about the location of archaeological sites in flood plains, describing not just known sites but also where they can be expected. The ‘archaeological expectations map for flood plains in the rivers area’ (in Dutch only) appeared on the Internet recently.
Physical geographers from Deltares, Utrecht University and archaeologists from the University of Groningen pooled their knowledge resources to produce the map. Deltares was responsible for the management of the project and we also contributed knowledge about changes in the courses of the rivers and the landscape since the Stone Age. The expectations map is an important instrument for future construction activity in the flood plains.
Cutting costs for exploratory archaeological studies
The map covers the flood plains of the Upper Rhine, Waal and Merwede from Lobith to Gorinchem, the Lower Rhine and Lek from the Pannerdense Kop to Schoonhoven, the Gelderse IJssel from the IJsselkop (Westervoort) to the IJssel Delta (Kampen) and the Meuse and Afgedamde Meuse from Mook to Woudrichem, including the Bergsche Meuse. The information provided by the map will make it possible, as early as the planning stages of construction projects, to take archaeological finds (whether actual or possible) into account. As a result, valuable archaeological sites can be excavated in a more targeted way, cutting the costs involved in archaeological explorations.
Recent and new finds safeguarded and available
The map is important for the Room for the River programme. Here in the Netherlands, we are giving our rivers more room in order to maintain our country’s protection against flooding in the future. At the same time, we want the rivers area to be structured to make it as attractive as possible. That involves moving dikes, digging secondary channels and deepening flood plains. A large number of archaeological office and field studies of this area have already been completed. The new expectations map safeguards the knowledge that has been built up. Any new finds will be added to keep the map up to date.
Expectations about different eras
The expectations map is different from older versions in terms of how it is structured: the map is produced by an automated system. The structure of the system is transparent and the documentation is extensive, making it possible to see what the expectations are based on. An important addition in this new map is the breakdown of the expectations into different historical periods. Expectations are given for a total of nine different periods, starting at the time of the hunter-gatherers (beginning at the start of the Holocene Age, 9500 B. C.) and extending through to the modern age (Second World War cultural heritage, 20 th century).
The expectations map was commissioned by Rijkswaterstaat and the National Service for Cultural Heritage (of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science). This project is part of the programmes Individuality and Safety: sea, coast and rivers from the Heritage and Space Vision Document (of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science) and Room for the River (Rijkswaterstaat).