A large number of skeletons and coffins were found under the Droevendal in Leeuwarden.
Two colleagues from Spinder Cable Technology made the discovery and the police were called in afterwards. ‘’We suddenly saw skulls and legs,’’ Bennie Spiekhout, employee of Spinder Cable Technology, reports. It soon became clear that what had been discovered were old burials, and archaeologists from the MUG office appeared in the street, as was reported by the Leeuwarden Courant.
The researchers continued to discover more coffins and skeletons. ‘’The crates are at least three layers deep here,’’ reveals Marlies van Kruining of MUG. Although a fourth layer hasn’t been discovered yet, the possibility has not been excluded.
When looking at a sixteenth-century city map, the discovery of the graves starts to make more sense. In 1498, on the corner of Drovendal and Tweebaksmarkt, construction of the Franciscan monastery of Galilee started, which replaced the older monastery on the Oldegalileën. The new accommodation was given a church with a graveyard, which the road surface of the street now covers. Another graveyard a little further north had been constructed for criminals at a later point.
The archaeologists are collecting the bones and taking them to Leek, where they will be extensively examined by MUG, before reburying them in Leeuwarden.
Discovered by digging
The excavation work is necessary as KPN is divesting part of its complex on the corner of the Tweebaksmarkt, and needs less space. In preparation, old cables that have been out of use for a long time are being removed, which exposed the graves.
The municipal archaeologist, Jan Willem Oudhof, is trying to find a middle ground where the cable work can continue, but with respect for archaeology and human remains. It’s predicted that the cemetery takes up a large part of the street.