How do we dig?

Museum Lolland-Falster's archaeologists are drilling for the past.

Museum Lolland-Falster's archaeologists are drilling for the past.

 

Museum Lolland-Falster applies completely new methods

Traditionally, archaeological investigations are carried out by first digging long trial trenches in the area that will be affected. The result provides an insight into the extent of hitherto unknown ancient monuments, and it serves as an indicator for the way in which subsequent investigations should be handled. However, this method quickly proved useless in connection with the excavations in the 187 hectares of reclaimed land east of Rødbyhavn.

 

 

The trench quickly filled up with water


The trench quickly filled up with water in 2011, when Museum Lolland-Falster attempted to dig traditional trial trenches.

 

Drilling for the past

In the autumn of 2011, Museum Lolland-Falster attempted to follow the method described above. Due to the area's high groundwater level, the trench filled up with 7,000 litres of water within an hour, making it impossible and dangerous to work in. Instead, the museum applied methods that were completely new on Danish soil. In collaboration with Dutch drilling specialists, the museum's archaeologists have carried out drilling to determine where settlements may be located in the area. During the preliminary investigations, more than 2,000 drillings were conducted using auger drills and core drills in the large cultural landscape.

 

Auger drilling samples are examined

Auger drilling samples are examined for traces of the past.

 

The drilling samples made it clear what soil types were found at different depths; the ground was searched for finds, and it all resulted in a model of the landscape, as it would have looked before it was flooded by the sea. Selected areas within sheet-piled boxes measuring 4 x 4 metres were then examined in order to detect in situ ancient monuments and artefacts.

 

The sheet-piled boxes

The 4 x 4 sheet-piled boxes were carefully examined for antiquities. The boxes were driven into the ground to keep water out of the area.

 

Combined, the many different phases of the preliminary investigation have resulted in the setting up of a framework for the areas that are to be excavated by traditional means.