Experience the archaeological story from the Geleenbeek Ligne of Sittard. Download the app and get face-to-face on site with our archaeologist. He tells you the history and the importance of the Geleenbeek Ligne through most modern virtual technology.
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Gifts from and to the river
From prehistory until the late middle ages, it seems people had a kind of love-hate relationship with the river Geleenbeek. At locations where the water flowed gently, people would go fishing and do various chores. There were locations where tasty or medicinal herbs and plants grew in abundance. The river transported flints and other stones that people could use to fashion tools. The clear water quenched people’s thirst and was important for preparing food.
But the river was also temperamental and could flood the entire area without warning. Which happened frequently. So you were well advised to placate the river by offering it sacrifices from time to time. That’s what people did at this lovely location in Geleenbeek Valley near Ligne.
Here is a selection of the numerous artefacts found there:
Take, for example, the people of the Linear Pottery culture (5300 – 4900 BCE), who left their pottery behind here some 7000 years ago. They used it to cook food and to carry water. Artefacts discovered here that were made from flint indicate that these farmers processed hides and made arrowheads here. A millstone was also discovered here, bearing traces of red ochre. Remains of red ochre are often associated with rituals. It seems like this special relationship with the waterway has always existed. For example, rare bronze-age pottery has been found here, dating back about 4000 years. This was probably also used for ritual purposes. And there are many hundreds of shards dating from the Roman period of around 2000 years ago (giving members of the archaeological working group plenty to puzzle over!). These discoveries also suggest that the artefacts were discarded as part of a ritual. The metal items from Roman times found here – including silver fibulas – are part of this ritual too. Nowadays we sometimes throw a coin into a fountain. It’s a form of superstition that may have started as long as 10,000 years ago. Who knows?
NOTE: The Archeo location is on the Ligne square at the intersection with the Thur Laudystraat.
For additional information:
Erfgoedcentrum De Domijnen
6131 ER Sittard