'Artist impression' of Leffinge in a natural tidal landscape before dike building (10th century AD), © Middelkerke
5000 years of coastal evolution
The Flemish coast has a long and complex history. The modern landscape is the result of the interaction between both natural processes and human interventions. Although research into the history of this region has already provided us with a lot of information, many detailed questions still remain, for example, exactly how the coastline evolved over the past 5000 years.
The Testerep project
Gain insight into how our coastline has evolved over the past 5000 years, through state of the art interdisciplinary scientific research
With the use of computer modeling, we'll resurrect Testerep and learn about the human and natural impact on the landscape.
Metal detectorists uncovering Testerep
Over the past few days, the VUB archaeology team received the much-appreciated help of a whole host of metal detectorists during their fieldwork in Westende. Together they are searching for traces of human presence in the flood plain of the former Testerep gully, to better understand when exactly the gully was embanked and the land became suitable for agriculture and habitation. This citizen science project will run till the end of the year.
Audio story Katrien Vervaele
The Testerep peninsula and its demise touches many: guides, theatre makers, journalists, coastal inhabitants ... It also inspired Katrien Vervaele, author and coastal lover with a big 'C'. Katrien was eager to write a book about this medieval drama and wanted to take the necessary time to do so. Unfortunately, she was not granted that luxury, and embraced the limited time she had left to write a haunting short story, starring Testerep and its inhabitants.
Her friend Nancy Zwaenepoel transformed the text into a breathtaking audio story. The agreement was to publish it only after Katrien's passing.
The result: a tribute to Katrien, an audio story diving into the mysteries of our coast, a story of connection. Listen for yourself!
With music from 'The Drowned Ballads of Testerep' by TG Vagevuur, composed by Peter Spaepen and performed by Elisabeth De Loore on the piano. Audio story edited by Bart De Smet (VLIZ) as part of the project 'Testerep: 5000 years of coastal evolution'.
The microworld of Testerep
Information about the evolution and demise of Testerep can be found in unexpected places. One of the most important sources of information is the microworld of Testerep. Not only (remains of) small organisms in the sediment are a treasure trove of information, but also the sediment itself can tell us a lot.
Last week, geologists from the VLIZ conducted intensive research on more than 100 soil samples taken from the Testerep survey area. They analysed the grain size of the sediment using a device developed specifically for particle analysis (MALVERN mastersizer 3000).
The grain size is very important information for hydrogeological modelling. In turn, these models will give us more insight on how Testerep possibly drowned.