Eggs from early Sneek


  • S. Bottema
  • F. Bottema
  • R. Cappers
  • C.G. Koopstra


Refuse layers in the town of Sneek, dating from the 12th to the 17th century AD, contained pieces of eggshells. In some rare instances the tiny fragments of lapwing eggs were found in the 15-16/17th century deposits. Rubbish from a cesspit contained the fragments of a complete swan egg, which may have been eaten. Chicken eggs may have been brought in from farms outside the old town centre. The same is true for duck eggs but these may have originated also from the 'town ducks ' which were kept on the canals.

Identification of the egg-producing species was achieved by measuring the thickness of the shell and comparing the outer shell structure under 81 times magnification. In addition, the colour of the shell was used as an identification trait. On several occasions it was found that half eggshells had been pushed into each other before discarding. These series of some 5-6 eggs could be a mixture of chicken and duck eggs.