Friday, December 23, 2005

Stone Age?

I got a very strange phone call yesterday... only just shortly after getting out of school for christmas vacation. An unknown teacher (to me) phoned and wanted to know if I could meet him at 10 in the morning in front of his museum, which is located inside the only remaining Holland style wind mill here in Esens. So this morning I got up early and biked to the way opposite side of town (20ish min).

I was in for a surprise. It turns out that this teacher has been doing archeology projects and excavations in the mudflats (Wattenmeer... see previous blogs for more info). The ebb and flow of the water, the coast, and the islands (which are only really big sand banks as it turns out) has been consistantly moving and changing thoughout the ages. As far back as the ice ages, the water receded so much that you could walk from here to England, theoretically. But more recently, people have been living here for about 3000 years, and like normal humans, they have been altering the landscape ever since (as well as the natural change from the tide and wind). I learned a lot about the landscape here, the bogs that were used for ''fire wood'', the nature of the tides when there is no dike, and the extreme change of the coast line. The many settlements here were pearched upon ''high'' hills... really only 20 feet or so above sea level, or on the coast... and some even out on the watt on man made hills (one hill was made entirely of cow manure!). People lived out on the watt until the early 1600's (through the entire middle ages!). Sometimes storms would detroy the settlements or the tide would overtake low lying towns. Therefore, there are a lot of buried treasures lying around.

This teacher has done a lot of excavations out on the watt. One has to wait until the tide is low, and there is only a few hours to work. But he has quite a collection and several floors on information that he and his team has assembled. So, he gave me almost a 2 hour private tour of the collection. The greatest part of it all was getting to hold pieces of pottery and tools that were over 2000 years old as well as stone tools made in the stone age! Imagine! Of course, it was all in german, and the neat part was that I understood almost everything. Something like that would have been impossible only a month ago.

Sorry for my spelling... deutch interference. I will write a christmas message on the 25th.


Grandma M. said...

Wow! What an experience to have. It was special for a teacher to take his time to give you this tour.

David said...

That is so cool! I keep thinking back to everything we learned in euro about what kinds of things were going on in the middle ages. And to hold stuff from that time is rly cool! Can't wait to hear about your christmas, I sent you an e-mail too. C ya!