'Below the Surface' — Amsterdam Archaeological Dig

There’s been a super-cool link making the Twitter rounds that I feel like I need to share in the forum for those who don’t circulate archaeology/history Twitter.

Recently, there’s been a link going around to this website called Below the Surface – The Archaeological Finds of the North/South Line. This is a collation of the archaeological finds following the construction of the North/South line in Amsterdam. There’s an explanation on the website that I’m going to quote from:

Urban histories can be told in a thousand ways. The archaeological research project of the North/South metro line lends the River Amstel a voice in the historical portrayal of Amsterdam. The Amstel was once the vital artery, the central axis, of the city. Along the banks of the Amstel, at its mouth in the IJ, a small trading port originated about 800 years ago. At Damrak and Rokin in the city centre, archaeologists had a chance to physically access the riverbed, thanks to the excavations for the massive infrastructure project of the North/South metro line between 2003 and 2012. […]

Damrak and Rokin proved to be extremely rich sites on account of the waste that had been dumped in the river for centuries and the objects accidentally lost in the water. The enormous quantity, great variety and everyday nature of these material remains make them rare sources of urban history. The richly assorted collection covers a vast stretch of time, from long before the emergence of the city right up to the present day. The objects paint a multi-facetted picture of daily life in the city of Amsterdam. Every find is a frozen moment in time, connecting the past and the present.

What is cooler is the fact that you can browse the finds online and, in fact, [make your own collection out of them.(https://belowthesurface.amsterdam/en/vitrines).

Have you seen this? Have you looked through the collection? What’s your favourite part of it? What do you make of this great opportunity for modern urban archaeology?

My current favourite piece is obviously the Megaman.exe flippo disc.


Holy shit, I didn’t realize people having been getting creative with these displays. I’m also very pleased that the pride collection is #1 right now. Nice.

Anyway, I’m a sucker for all things archaeological. I love urban findings like this, these small pieces of life…and this website is the gift that keeps on giving. I could spend hours looking at these objects and trying to think about how they ended up the way they did.

Also, not going to lie, those bones labeled “fish” are terrifying.