Archaeologists come across a cellar that was hidden for centuries: 800-year-old wooden beams reveal secrets (Ghent)

Archaeologists come across a cellar that was hidden for centuries: 800-year-old wooden beams reveal secrets (Ghent)
Archaeologists come across a cellar that was hidden for centuries: 800-year-old wooden beams reveal secrets (Ghent)
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© City of Ghent

Ghent

The cellar that was hidden under the Design Museum for centuries is being examined in detail and virtually rebuilt in 3D. The wooden beams are gradually revealing their secrets, with moss and marks playing the leading role.

It was a unique find by the archaeologists on the last day of the excavations at the Design Museum in January: the remains of a wooden cellar from the twelfth century. It turned out to be the best preserved wooden structure from that time in Ghent, and so the beams are currently being further examined. The City of Ghent does this together with the Dutch specialist Silke Lange, reports Alderman of City Archeology Filip Watteeuw (Groen).

READ ALSO. Spectacular find in the last days of excavations at the Design Museum: “Structure is almost completely preserved”

“The initial findings show that the beams come from wooden ships,” the researchers said. “The wood contains ‘breusel’, a mixture of moss to help make a ship watertight. Some planks also end in a point, probably from the bow of a ship.”

The wood has therefore probably been recovered. After all, no marks have been found, which indicates that the house was built on site with materials that were available. (read more below photo)

The beams are examined in De Zwarte Doos.

The beams are examined in De Zwarte Doos. — © City of Ghent

Softwood

“It concerns different types of wood, including coniferous wood combined with oak,” say the researchers. “That is exceptional for the twelfth century, because coniferous wood was generally only used from the fourteenth century and does not occur naturally here.”

The beams are scanned one by one with a 3D scanner in the city archive De Zwarte Doos. Based on this, a reconstruction is made of what the basement, and possibly the house that stood on that foundation, looked like. The wood itself is also analyzed. The age can be accurately determined down to the season via the annual rings of the tree.

The rest of the excavations can also provide useful information about the history of the site. In this way, all layers and pits in the ground and the various structures such as walls and cesspools are precisely described. In addition, other finds are examined, such as pottery, animal bones, natural stone and soil samples. A detailed report will follow later.

© City of Ghent

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Archaeologists cellar hidden centuries #800yearold wooden beams reveal secrets Ghent

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