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A spectacular archaeological find was made by the Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier (HHNK) in Noord-Holland last month. They were busy with reinforcement work on the Omringdijk, a major dyke that runs between the Westfriese towns of Enkhuizen and Hoorn, when they discovered the remains of house walls back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries at Oosterleek. But that wasn’t all…
When archaeologists were called to evaluate the historical walls, they also uncovered nine skeletons belonging to both adults and children, that are estimated to date back to the fourteenth century. Initially archaeologists believed that these skeletons were from the victims of drowning or alternatively, criminals who had paid the ultimate price for their crimes. It has transpired, however, that there was actually a burial ground on this particular site, or at least that’s what the archaeologists who also unearthed remains of wooden houses from around the twelfth or thirteenth century, suspect. These wooden homes were part of a village that flooded in the fifteenth century, prompting the residents to move the dyke to a more suitable spot. The area remained hallowed ground up until the seventeenth century and served as a cemetery long after the replacement dyke was built.
The archaeological investigation is now complete, but work on the dyke is expected to continue until September. A ‘Day of the Dyke’ is being planned for 22nd September, to celebrate the symbolic ‘giving back’ of the Omringdijk to local residents. In fact, there are many fun events in and around the Omringdijk throughout the year, such as the ‘Opperdoezer Ronde’ held on April 23rd. This festival allows visitors to sample typical Westfriese culinary delights, including the mighty ‘Opperdoezer Ronde’ (considered by connoisseurs to be the most flavoursome potato in the Netherlands), ‘Westfriese schapenijs’ (ice cream prepared from sheep’s milk) and even Westfriese wine. If you’re a real fan of typical Dutch products from the Westfriese region and you simply cannot wait until next year’s Opperdoezer Ronde, why not enjoy a culinary cycle tour of the area instead? These memorable trips can be booked at a number of local hotels and are available year round.