Wijchen has a long habitation history. The archaeology department presents finds from Wijchen and the surrounding area from the Stone Age up to and including the Early Middle Ages. Models of house types illustrate the gradual development of the domestic arena. The Roman period is especially well represented with beautiful objects made of glass and metal as well as the usual ceramics.
Museum Castle Wijchen has an extensive archaeological collection on permanent display. Exhibits in the first three galleries of the museum give a general impression of the archaeological history of Wijchen, proceeding in chronological order.
After many centuries as a small farming settlement, Wijchen grew rapidly in the Roman period, and became a desirable location for those who were profiting from the Roman administration. The explanation for this growth can be found in the location of the village – then, as now, only a short distance from Nijmegen, but without the noise, overcrowding and pollution of the city. Wijchen was a wealthy place in Roman times, and that is reflected in the remains found here – buildings, artefacts and burials with expensive grave goods.
Many of the items displayed come from the collection of the late F.G.J. Bloemen, a local stocking manufacturer who died in 1952. Frans Bloemen knew that from 1880 archaeological finds had been made in Wijchen which gave an insight into the cultural heritage of the area. For instance, in 1897 a particularly well made bronze bucket, ornamented with worked animal figures and complete with handle and lid had been found. The buried bronze age wagon, a highly prized object, had also been discovered in that year. Concerned that this cultural heritage would be lost to the people of Wijchen, Bloemen began actively to collect antiquities, with a view to preserving them for the future.
Frans Bloemen eventually amassed a large collection of pottery. In the 1930’s, during the great depression, many ‘eerdmennekes potjes’ (earthmen’s pots) came into his collection when people searched for these pots in the hills around Wijchen in order to exchange them for stockings and for cigarettes.
The Museum also cares for the municipal archaeological collection, which grows with every excavation. The collections of a number of other local antiquarians, such as that of the late Dr. P. Franssen, have also found their way to the Museum.
Despite the emphasis on the Roman period, there is no shortage of material for those whose interests lie in the prehistoric and Mediaeval periods. Tools, jewelry, weapons and the remains of daily life. You can see it all in the archaeology galleries.