De opgravingen op het kerkhof van het verdronken dorp Scheemda


  • J. Molema


The raised bog area in the east of the province of Groningen became settled during the 12th century, judging by our present knowledge of the building dates of churches in the area.

As a result of shrinking (and oxidation) of the peat surface, drainage became more and more problematical. In the end the area had to be abandoned in the 15th/early 16th century. Shortly afterwards the land was inundated by the sea, creating thereby the so-called Dollard. The former villages were covered by a thick layer of marine clay. The land was reclaimed from the second half of the 16th century on.

The old churchyard of the swallowed village of Scheemda was excavated in 1988 and 1989, preceeding roadconstruction activities. Two cruciform groundplans of stone built churches were uncovered, dating from the first and third or fourth quarter of the 13th century. The walls of the first church had been founded partly up sand, partly up peat. Shrinking of the peat must have caused severe problems, so that it had to be replaced by a new building situated on a churchyard surrounded by wall and ditch. The archaeological finds consisted mostly of ceramics, especially Kugeltopf pottery decorated with applied ribbons.