The past exposed
It is fascinating to follow the excavations in the Noordenveld. Not only do they completely change the landscape, the removal of the uppermost layer of soil also suddenly brings older time layers to the surface. The excavators expose all sorts of traces of the recent (agricultural) past, from both the reclamation as well as the ice age. To a certain extent, this deals with matters that were already known, for example from old maps and photographs. However, surprises are also brought to light. The following pages include a photo impression with a brief explanation.
Tracks in the Noordenveld
As far as tracks in the Noordernveld are concerned, the first to be revealed are those from recent (agricultural) past, which are removed with the top layer of soil: barbed wire, plastic and concrete pipes, modern raster poles, electric wires from seismological research, asbestos, and debris as road surfacing. Older tracks are more beautiful and interesting; such as plow tracks that are remnants from the reclamation and the cart tracks, which could date back to before, during or after the reclamation. These tracks have broached different layers of soil. Since the soil is not excavated evenly, the different colored plow tracks can be seen very clearly, especially at first.
The differences in color are created by the drifting and blowing of sand, deposition of minerals, differences in wet and dry areas, and areas retaining ice. Deposits from the ice age also emerge, such as the glacial till and stones left behind from the ice age. Experts can tell from the stones exactly what part of Northern Europe they originate from. The former marshlands are shown as dark spots due to the peat in the ground.
These marshlands can also be seen on an aerial photograph from 1935, shortly after the beginning of the reclamation. Later on, they were covered by a layer of sand. In this picture, the first (rectangular) agricultural plots can be clearly seen, as well as (in addition to the lakes) all sorts of natural patterns and old cart tracks. Thus, not all of the looming tracks come as a surprise. Even older topographic maps show a great deal of detail of the previous situation. Nature will slowly conceal all of these tracks from sight once again.