Versatile Fens. Archaeology, nature and recreation in the fens of Overasselt and Hatert

last: 15 March to 6 september 2015.

The fens of Overasselt and Hatert is a beautiful natural area located southwest of Nijmegen and South-East of the Wijchense fens, surrounded by Alverna (Wijchen), Nederasselt, Overasselt and Heumen. The area consists of a number of lakes located in a largely planted forest with remainders oak coppice, plots Heath and small picturesque fields and meadows. Fens are water features which are not fed from groundwater, but largely for the water supply on (mineral poor) rain water are preferred. On the edge of the area is the 15th-century ruin of St. Walrickkapel and the next Fevertree of Overasselt. This oak is hung with fabrics by sick people who hope for healing.

Under the watchful eye of State forest, large herbivores walk around– such as sheep and Scottish Highlanders– that graze the vegetation brief in the fens of Overasselt and Hatert. Besides nature, there are also many traces of culture in the fens area. There are dozens of tumuli and urnfields. At the time, are people living closeby or did they came from afar to bury their dead? The AWN (archaeological work community Netherlands) attempts by conducting archaeological excavations to find answers to questions like these. The Fens are basically large ground archives. Recreation plays an important role nowadays and you can go walking, running and cycling in the Lakes of Overasselt and Hatert. Have you ever workout on (in) a soil archive?

Archaeological finds from the area where history and leisure come together, are displayed in the exhibition Versatile fens. For creating this exhibition Castle Wijchen worked together with the Forestry Commission, the AWN, some artists and private lenders. The local finds done by AWN (section Nijmegen e.o.), loans submitted by the provincial deposit for Bottom finds (Gelderland), Museum Het Valkhof and Rijksmuseum voor Oudheden (Leiden), make it clear how the fens were already crowded in prehistoric times. In this exhibit, you will see the fens through the eyes of a scientist: step into the shoes of an archaeologist and get started! Discover and think how we could preserve this ground where we enjoy daily sports and nature. By continuously investing in nature the fens of Overasselt and Hatert remain vital and attractive in the future for humans, plants and animals.

This exhibition is the result of a cooperation between, AWN Department Nijmegen e.o., the Forestry Commission, provincial Depot for Bottom finds (Gelderland), Museum Het Valkhof, Rijksmuseum voor Oudheden (Leiden), De Gelderlander, Roel Wijlick (treecutting artist), Frans Smeding (geologist and artist), Jacqueline van den Boom (photographer) and private lenders.