The Hunebed Centre has been given a unique collection containing thousands of fossils. The collection was assembled over a period of sixty years by Peter and Karin de Vries, who live in the nearby village of Sappemeer. All of the fossils were found in the North Netherlands and on the border with Germany, mainly in sand quarries.
The collection consists of many thousands of sponges, corals, and other fossilised animal remains, all found mixed in the gravel which resulted from industrial dredging of enormous sandpits. Many of these fossils originally lay off the coast of Estland and were transported here by the vast Eridanos river, which flowed for millions of years from Northern Scandinavia into the North Sea.
In addition to its archaeological focus on the hunebeds and their builders, the museum already has a large number of geological objects relating to the Hondsrug UNESCO Geopark. This includes a large collection of amber and a Boulder Garden containing thousands of stones brought here from Scandinavia by the ice during the last Ice Age. The Hondsrug Geopark evolved out of the Hunebed Centre over ten years ago and the museum is home to a permanent exhibition about the creation and geology of the Hondsrug. This history has now been further augmented by this new collection.
Museum experts are now busy sorting the fossils and preparing them for display. They will then be photographed and the photos digitised. Peter and Karin de Vries are assisting in the operation and maintain close links with the museum as Curators of Palaeontology. They intend to catalogue their own collection and flesh out the exhibits with information and stories. Some of these stories will later appear on the hunebednieuwscafe website.
Tekst Harrie Wolters
Translation Alun Harvey