Dear traveller, have I got a story for you today! It is simply amazing!
Have a seat and listen.
Last year, in the year 2019, this region was tormented by the Box Tree Caterpillar and many buxus plants were destroyed because of it. It was a very sad episode for those who love gardening.
One gentleman, living in modern day Wijk bij Duurstede, decided to get rid off all his destroyed buxus plants. But then… one of the roots appeared to have something shiny attached to it….
Wijk bij Duurstede was once called Dorestad. Dorestad flourished between the 7th century and the mid-9th century. The settlement was well known for minting coins under the control of several Frankish rulers. In the 7th century, it was clear that Dorestad had the potential to become a major port. It was the meeting point for traders at the time. As a result, the Franks and the Frisians fought over control of the township. The Franks won out at the end of the 7th century and closely monitored the growth of Dorestad, which led to Dorestad’s economic expansion via international trade and the establishment of a mint in the Upper town. It is assumed that there was a toll as well as harbour fees, collected by the king’s representatives at Dorestad. Over time, many coins have been discovered in the Dorestad area, supporting the idea of rapid growth and control of the harbour as well as the presence of a mint.
Between 834 and 839, there were extensive raids by the Vikings, and sadly the town never recovered from this. First, trading slowed down and stopped entirely and the mint was closed down as well. For centuries the town didn’t amount to anything until 1270 Duurstede Castle was built and the town Wijk bij Duurstede then received city & market rights in 1300.
Fast forward to 2019, when a hobby gardener tried to replace some dead buxus plants. The gold shiny object clinging to the roots was nothing less than a 7th century ring, of which only two others are known to exist in Friesland.
The ring is 22 carats and it is possible this was a wedding ring. It is roughly 1400 years old and hopefully it will be on display in 2021 in the Dorestad Museum.