You are here

Prehistoric Fish Trap Reconstruction

Thursday, 13 December, 2012 to Sunday, 1 September, 2013
Organised by: 
Eva IJsveld
Wiel van der Mark
Number of Participants / Visitors / Audience: 
Several Hundreds or Thousands

In Archeon, Alphen aan den Rijn a base settlement has been reconstructed, from the Mesolithic period of the hunter/fishermen and gatherers. Here archaeo-interpreters show the public how the people lived and give a view of aspects of daily life in middle stone age.

From this period there are several finds of prehistoric (late) stone age fish traps that are well preserved. One of them is found in Bergschenhoek, 4.200 BC (Oudheidkundig museum, Leiden). This object is very important in the daily life of the hunters and gatherers to get food. The public will see the high technical skills that were used professionally in fishing, a method that still in use now a days. To show the visitors of Archeon and the Archaeology House and Museum a professional technical good looking object, is a way to convince them of the intelligence and possibilities to use nature, of these early inhabitants of Europe.

Our goal with this project is to make a reconstruction of a fish trap and to show the public in Archeon the high technical skills of the prehistoric people. Getting insights in the time needed to make a fish trap. Using different binding materials such as lime bark and willow bark to investigate the use of the material. Sharing the knowledge of reconstruction in articles, lectures and workshops. Use it in educational movie about the history of the area where the fish trap is found, shown in a local museum. Make connection and comparison with oldest fish/traps and fishing methods still in use in Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands.

This project is part of broad ongoing research in Archeon; Collecting sources and making comparisons with other fish traps in the Netherlands and Europe; Trying to get a closer look on all the different shapes, techniques and materials; Trying out the technique to get impression of time needed to make a fish trap like this.
The reconstruction can be made during opening hours of Archeon so the visitors can see the process of reconstruction, or it can be shown on other markets or events or museum where we can work on it and tell the visitors about it.
Sharing results and knowledge; our observations and experiences from the process of reconstruction will be shared by giving a lecture/workshop which data have to be found.( maybe in connection with the food project, spring 2013 in Archeon) Also the process will be filmed and photographed, be published in an English article and shared with colleagues of other European open-air museums, shared on internet in lectures or otherwise.
During the making of this reconstruction this project will already be in good educational use: Stichting Historisch Belang Lansingerland in Bleiswijk, the Netherlands is starting the production of an educative movie about the development of the area where the fish trap is found. They are very interested in filming the making of this reconstruction to show in a local museum. The public of Archeon and other historical events can learn about the making process. Impression of the time , skills and knowledge Mesolithic people needed to make a fish trap like this. These kind of fish traps are used together with fish shields , in Bergen op Zoom ,the Netherlands is one of the oldest in fish trap of Europe is still in use ( on the list to become a world heritage monument) . It would be very interesting to make a connection to find out about the methods of fishing with this kind of traps.

By writing an article in English we will transfer our knowledge and skills to the other European open-air museums in the EXARC Open Arch project.


Original find, Bergschenhoek
Eva IJsveld stripping the bark with the...
Eva IJsveld working on the reconstruction
Detail shot of the reconstruction