Unique Dark Ages silver bowl discovery in the Netherlands


Oegstgeest early Medieval silver bowl, photo by Chris de Waard

During the seventh century, northern parts of what is the Netherlands now, like Drenthe where a gold treasure was discovered recently, were independent from the kingdom of the Franks, ruled by the Merovingian dynasty.

While the Franks ruled other parts, like Oegstgeest in the western Netherlands.

Translated from Chris de Waard in the Netherlands:

Unique ‘Bowl of Oegstgeest’ exhibited at National Antiquities Museum

Leiden – Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 17:13

During excavations in Oegstgeest archaeologists from Leiden University have found a very rare silver bowl from the first half of the seventh century. The bowl is decorated with animal and plant figures in gold and inlaid with semi-precious stones. The finding points to an elite with a widespread international network in Oegstgeest.

A team led by archaeologist Jasper de Bruin of Leiden University made ​​the discovery a year ago, in June 2013. This year the bowl, which was in very poor condition, was restored in Limburg. As of today, it can be seen in the Museum of Antiquities. The museum gets it on permanent loan from the Province of South Holland. A province automatically owns all the artefacts found in its territory.

It is assumed that the bowl, with a diameter of 21 centimeters and a height of 11 centimeters, was a sacrifice buried in the ground. Such precious finds are extremely rare. The scale is special because similar bowls are usually made ​​of bronze. In addition, those are never decorated with exuberant gold fittings. It is therefore a unique piece, not only for the Netherlands but for the whole of Western Europe.

Until the time that the scale was found, at the settlement in Oegstgeest no evidence for the presence of a local or regional elite had been found. Possibly elite people in that period lived in ‘normal’ farms.

More photos of this bowl: here.

See also here.

7 thoughts on “Unique Dark Ages silver bowl discovery in the Netherlands

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