Soil-ID and the Stone Age

A key challenge

There is a province in the middle of The Netherlands that is known all over the world, called Flevoland. It’s known because the land for this province was derived from the sea. Thousands of years before the first century this sea, called Zuiderzee, didn’t exist and people lived on the land. The people were driven away by the water of the Zuiderzee. In the 20th century the Dutch defied nature by bringing back the land.

In the Flevoland area Soil-ID is put to the test in 2010, when a highway is built right at the location where there was habitation in the Stone age. The construction pit is already set out, but archaeologists want to examine the area before the builders start their work. The government agrees with the archaeologist’s request for examination, and the archaeologists get access to the pit for a short period. A huge challenge because the pit is 7000 m2, the archaeologists need dry soil and the delay for the construction shouldn’t be to extensive.

Soil-ID takes up the challenge that no other company would or could. The work needs to be executed with caution, because of the expected historical treasures in the ground. Adding to the difficulty is the limited time, the pit needs to be excavated within 4 weeks. These requirements call for a different approach. Instead of placing the injection tubes two at a time with a sheet pile, they a placed one at a time with a hollow tube. To compensate the lower capacity two cranes are used and the men work in two shifts, 24h/7d. Also the injection points are set further apart and the amount of litres are increased. After the injection the tubes are pulled one by one and the dewatering is started. The soil seal shows to be very effective (only 16 m3 of water per hour is pumped).

The archaeologists are now free to examine an excavate the ground. Many primitive tools are found and even a skeleton is discovered. This skeleton seems older than 7000 years, and is likely to be the oldest one discovered in The Netherlands.

This project was one of Soil-ID’s the biggest challenges, but with a flexible and proactive mind-set it was done successfully!

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