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Heemskerk
Sunday 17 June 2007

Hilde, the exhibition 'Treasures beneath your feet'.The invitation to come to the coast of North Holland was sure unusual, used as we are to roam around the Limes in the middle of the country. What, after all, had Roman soldiers ever done for the (at that time) largely uninhabited coastal region, seemingly far from the Roman border along the river Rhine? The reason was Hilde, the exhibition 'Treasures beneath your feet', about a 4th-c. woman who had once lived in these parts. Heemskerk and the North Holland Dune reserve.
Heemskerk and the North Holland Dune reserve.
Detailed image of the area of the event.
Detailed image of the area of the event.

He's almost looking like a real Late Roman!The exhibition, as well as the event, are sponsored by the PWN Water Company, who made this all possible. We had originally been invited to the 'Winter Day' event in February, but we had had to cancel that one. Luckily, the 'Summer Day' event in the middle of the dune was a date we could keeep - lucky for us.
The day started very wet. The signs for the rest of the day weren't too good either, and when we drove past Amsterd am the heavens opened! Add to that a shifty car with a mysterious defect on the right front, and you'll guess our apprehension when we drove from Utrecht into North Holland.

Roel from the LHO had an constant line of visitors awaiting their turn.
Roel from the LHO had an constant line of visitors awaiting their turn.
Merovingian Franks duelling..
Merovingian Franks duelling..
..or just deciding who first gets a pancake?
..or just deciding who first gets a pancake?
Setting up camp - the Franks making a living space in the dunes.
Setting up camp - the Franks making a living space in the dunes.
Hieronymus makes friends.
Hieronymus makes friends.
Getting the fire to burn...
Getting the fire to burn...
...so that the kids can be fed.
..so that the kids can be fed.

With a car making odd noices, we reached Heemskerk and drove into the wood that cover m ost of the Nature Reserve, until we reached a quite large open space (see the images above), where a large number of tents had already been set up. We were one of three re-enactment groups, one being a Viking-period smithy and the other some old friends from LHO (Die Landen van Herwaarts Over, translated as 'The Lands Over There'), who also show the Merovingian period. Among them Roel, who we met as part of the Teuxandrii, and Mante, once a fellow-member of Legio II Augusta. And the rest of them were also very friendly neighbours, even though we were the Romans and they the hostile Franks!

Charge! A visitor looking feral.
Charge! A visitor looking feral.
Hasta in front! Another visitor dresssed up to look the part.
Hasta in front! Another visitor dresssed up to look the part.
Ready to charge! The Late Romans ready to give the rest a bit of a fright. Just don't smile, you'll give it all away...
Ready to charge! The Late Romans ready to give the rest a bit of a fright. Just don't smile, you'll give it all away...

Luckily, the rain had stopped before we arrived, and the camp site was dry. Although we did have a few minor showers that day, I think we were extremely lucky, considering the dwonpoors in the rest of the country! The good weather also caused a good turnout - there were plenty of visitors, enough to keep us constantly busy.

Chariovalda recruiting another volunteer.
Chariovalda recruiting another volunteer.
Valerius showing the use of a hasta.
Valerius showing the use of a hasta.
Percute! And another young recruit for the legions.
Percute! And another young recruit for the legions.
"Tiro" dressing up into a heavy hamata. See the large picture.
"Tiro" dressing up into a heavy hamata. See the large picture.
The camp of the Franks. Next time we'll also have a tent to add to the scenery.
The camp of the Franks. Next time we'll also have a tent to add to the scenery.

Especially Roel was very soufght-after, there seemed to be a constant line of people (kids, mainly), who wanted to have a go at shooting arrows. Andreas and me were almost constantly explaining, showing material, dressing people up in Roman equipment, and in the afternoon we had a plumbata throw, which also proved very popular.

A well deserved break for food.
A well deserved break for food.
Our part of the camp.
Our part of the camp.
The well- stocked table of our neighbours.
The well- stocked table of our neighbours.
Mante preparing more pancakes.
Mante preparing more pancakes.
We were also allowed a few.. Yummy!
We were also allowed a few.. Yummy!
Guarding the line..
Guarding the line..
.. for the arrow shoot, wgich was very popular.
.. for the arrow shoot, wgich was very popular.
Tied to house or tied to husband?
Tied to house or tied to husband?
For the kids, the day was one big adventure of playing soldiers in the woods.
For the kids, the day was one big adventure of playing soldiers in the woods.
Watch out for the next generation! Watch out for the next generation! Hiljo, Rosa and Jeroen.
Watch out for the next generation! Hiljo, Rosa and Jeroen.
Reflections in a helmet.
Reflections in a helmet.
"That's us"!
"That's us"!
The portable smithy of the Vikings.
The portable smithy of the Vikings.

All in all a very nice day. Nice weather, good neighbour, interested visitors and very well-organised. And yes, the car remained whole enough to get us all safely back home again.


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