Archaeologists find 3 skeletons at Dutch parliamentary complex during renovations
Only two days after starting work in the crypt of the former Court Chapel on the Binnenhof in The Hague, archaeologists have found three skeletons, a bronze coin, and part of the chapel. “We expected to find all kinds of things, but so quickly and so close to the surface was a surprise,” Mignonne Lenoir, an archaeologist at the municipality of The Hague, said.
The archeologists found the human skeletons just below the surface, only 20 to 30 centimeters below ground level. Anthropologist Constance van der Linde went to examine them.
“I can already tell that it concerns an adult person over the age of 20, but only when the bones are washed during further examination can I determine more,” she said. Anthropologists can determine identifying attributes from a skeleton, such as the deceased person's gender, age, and their general health before they died.
The researchers also found parts of a gallery floor - “a floor on which the real floor of the Hofkapel once lay - during their investigation. They also discovered a bronze coin from 1761, showing the Dutch lion on one side and the text Hollandia on the other.
“It is so special to find such a coin when you realize that it has been there for hundreds of years. You learn more and more about how people lived in those days,” Lenoir said.
The archeologists are currently researching the cellars under the Senate building and the outdoor area known as the Opperhof, close to the Senate and the Ministry of General Affairs. The archaeological research is part of the renovations at the Binnenhof parliamentary complex.
In the coming days, the archaeologists will continue with their 60-centimeter excavation of the Opperhof and much deeper excavations in smaller areas. “We hope to find many more foundations, coins, and bone material this way. Then we can gain even more insight into how people lived here and which burial culture took place here.”