Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries 1-1 (May 2009)Wouter van der Meer: Harvesting underwater meadows, use of eelgrass (Zostera spp.) as indicated by the Dutch archaeological record.


The main focus of archaeology and its derivative disciplines tends to be on the most common remains from the past. In archaeobotany, for example, there are ample opportunities to study food production and consumption. It is, however, rare that an opportunity presents itself to study different uses of vegetable material. From this perspective it should be interesting to present the case of a different kind of historically documented resource, namely eelgrass (Zostera spp.). Archaeological finds of eelgrass are indeed quite rare. This paper will present a summary of all the documented instances in which eelgrass was discovered in archaeological contexts in the Netherlands, on the basis of available literature and field research in which the author was involved.