Roman settlement, mammoth remains, shipwrecks found along Maas river

Maas River, Rotterdam the Maas River in Rotterdam (Grandmaster/Wikimedia)

A group of archaeologists found, in their words, the "largest and by far the richest archaeological site of the Netherlands" in the floodplains of the Maas river between Alphen and Dreumel. There they made over 100 thousand discoveries over the past seven years, including the remains of a Roman settlement, mammoths, and a large number of shipwrecks, NOS reports.

A project developer and subcontractors in the area allowed the team of 18 archaeologists, including 16 amateurs, to research the area. They did not have to do so - the 275 hectare area had already been released after an archaeological preliminary examination. The investigators concluded that the Maas likely destroyed most traces over the last two thousand years, archaeologist Nils Kerkoven said to NOS. He and a colleague were able to convince the developer to let them do a further investigation.

"We soon realized that the river had wreaked havoc, but still saw all kinds of findings in context", Kerkhoven said to NOS. As the Maas moved over hundreds of years, many traces remained relatively undisturbed. The team eventually found remains from prehistoric times to the 20th century.

These findings included a previously unknown Roman settlement and crossing point. Mammoth remains were also found across a large area. Experts are particularly excited about the large number of shipwrecks found in the area. According to Kerkhoven and his team, the location is archaeologically the most valuable discovery of shipwrecks in the Netherlands.