Special nr. 2 Ruwe bolsters, bierdrinkers en haringeters

A toilet is a recent invention. In the 18th century one had to rely on the cesspit. For archaeologists such a pit is a little treasure, because it holds nearly all remnants of human daily life: food and kitchen waste, discarded household goods, garments and other utensils. Archaeologists from the town of Vlaardingen were therefore pleasantly surprised when in 2002 they discovered a cesspit along the Havenstraat (site Galeiwerf). The cesspit was situated in between the remains of the shipyard of one of Vlaardings’ leading families called Cleywerff-De Zeeuw. Perhaps Ariaantje let her son Dirk throw the left over fish bones of supper into the pit ...

The cesspit of the shipyard along Havenstraat is the second investigated cesspit in Vlaardingen and was in use during the late 17th and early 18th century. For the first time we obtain by the food scraps and discarded household items a picture of daily life of a typical shipbuilder family from Vlaardingen in the decades around the year 1700. A household on a yard where craftsmen honed and hammered and children played.

The City Council of Vlaardingen ordered initiated a broad specialist elaboration of the finds from the cesspit aiming to integrate the historical data and the various material categories into one. This approach was applied as well in the photography where the study of the pottery, glass, clay pipes, metal, wood, leather, textiles, gnawed bones, fish bones, nuts and seeds was set as a guide. The result consists of Paul Crucq’s († 2014) wonderful picturesque still life pictures of restored finds from the cesspit combined with contemporary fish and fruit which have been recognized during the archeozoological an d botanical research.

This Terra Cotta Incognita Special no. 2 provides a wealth of information for archaeologists and historians engaged in household culture and food history. But also those with a love of the history of Vlaardingen and everyday life can indulge herein.

The Special nr. 2 was distributed by SPA Publishers (sold out), but is now also fully available online (in Dutch with English summary/ 200 pp. full colour).

Full title

Jaspers, N.L., Y. Eijskoot & E. Esser, 2015: Ruwe bolsters, bierdrinkers en haringeters. Huishoudelijk afval van de eigenaren, bewoners en ambachtslieden van de scheepswerf aan de Havenstraat te Vlaardingen (locatie Galeiwerf), Amsterdam.

Yurie Eijskoot, City Council of Vlaardingen

Nina Linde Jaspers, Terra Cotta Incognita

Paul Crucq, Paul Crucq Fotografische Vormgeving

With contributions by
Dick Brinkhuizen (fish remains), Otto Brinkkemper (archaeobotany), Sandra Comis (textile), Paul Crucq (photography and grapic design), Yurie Eijskoot (historical background and archaeological feature description), Kinie Esser (archeozoölogy), Allard van Helbergen (ceramics restoration), Krijn van der Hoofd (English translation), Nina Jaspers (research coordination, ceramics, ceramic building material, metal, wood report, object drawing ceramics, grafic design and DTP, Erik Kieft (ceramics and glas restoration), Jaap Kottman (glass, objectdrawings glass), Silke Lange (wood identification), Johan Langelaar (metal identification), Marian Melkert (stone), Jan van Oostveen (clay pipes), Sebastiaan Ostkamp (editor ceramics typology), Sem Peters (comparison cesspits), Marloes Rijkelijkhuizen (crafted bone, leather, beads), Paul Schulten (conservation), James Symonds (editing English summary), Eli van Toledo (visualisation excavation data), Erika Verloop (archival research), Gavin Williams (editing English summary).