Drs. Wilko van Zijverden



Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 7847
E-Mail: w.k.van.zijverden@arch.leidenuniv.nl
Faculty / Department: Faculteit Archeologie, World Archaeology, European Prehistory
Office Address: Van Steenis gebouw
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden
Room number A107


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Wilko van Zijverden, (drs.) studied physical geography in Utrecht and prehistory in Leiden. The last 15 years he worked as senior physical geographer for an excavation company. During this period he was involved in many excavations with a focus on Holocene fluvial and marine landscapes. In 2008 he started as lecturer in the Bachelor Archaeology program at Saxion University of Applied Sciences in Deventer.

Currently Wilko is a PhD student within the research project “Farmers of the coast”. In his research he will focus on the development of the landscape of West Frisia between 2000 and 800 cal BC. The current development model for West Frisia was developed in the 1970s based on work of Ente. It suggests that this region was a marshland until c. 2000 cal BC  After 1600 cal BC the former marshland with silted-up creeks and former mudflats became suitable for settlement and people moved in. For about 600 years the environment was relatively stable, but after 1000 cal BC, due to a gradually rising groundwater level, raised bogs originated in the lower parts of the landscape. Eventually c. 800 cal BC West Frisia had to be abandoned and the landscape is supposed to have been entirely covered by raised bogs.

Since this model was developed many new data have been generated and there are strong indications that we may have to revise it completely. For instance recent excavation results suggest the presence of extensive woodlands. Moreover, farms appeared to have been located also on former mudflats, which would mean that our predictive models for heritage management need to be revised drastically. A critical question will be if more recently collected archaeological and environmental data will support the hypothesis of the 800 cal BC abandonment.


Last Modified: 01-02-2016