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Catacombs at Delft’s Nieuwe Kerk Excavated

Thursday, September 9, 2021

DELFT, THE NETHERLANDS—According to a Dutch News report, archaeologists have found the remains of some 200 people during work on the extension of the royal burial chamber at Nieuwe Kerk, a fourteenth-century church located opposite Delft’s City Hall. More than 40 members of the Dutch royal family have been buried in the chamber, including William of Orange in the sixteenth century. Archaeologist Michael Bot explained that about 150 of the newly unearthed remains had been buried in graves, while the bones of others had been placed in charnel repositories. “We are discovering big differences between the medieval bones we found earlier on the Markt (the square on which the church stands) and the people we’re finding in the church,” added city archaeologist Steven Jongma. The condition of the skeletons found in inexpensive coffins in the square indicate that the city’s poor were not as healthy and died at younger ages than the wealthy burghers who were buried in the church. DNA samples and archival research could identify those who had been buried in the church and their professions, Jongma added. To read how researchers have virtually unfolded uopened mail from The Hague that was sent more than 300 years ago, go to "Return to Sender."

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