archaeological excavation


the finds are shattered and made into terrazzo tiles

new public space for the area

overview of the excavation

close-up of the excavation


Client : SCHUNCK*
Site : Heerlen, Netherlands
Programme : public space, 100m2
Team : collaboration with Superflex
Type : commission, completion autumn 2015

Heerlen's past as the centre of the Dutch mining industry is concealed in its landscape. After the closing of the mines in the 1960's and 70's, all physical remnants were removed and covered by nature or buildings. Apart from a couple of mine buildings and slag hills, the only concrete leftovers are scattered enclaves of miners' housing. By opening the surface of the landscape, we symbolically open the memory of the area and dig into its lost identity.
Establishing an archaeological excavation in the centre of the Nieuw Lotbroek miners' colony, we dig into the ground together with locals of different generations and professionals and register everything that is found.
The archaeological excavations will both function as a place where we collectively look for the roots of Heerlen and as a space for sharing narratives.
When the diggings has ended, the finds will be shattered into small pieces and used as filling material for terrazzo paving tiles. The surface of the excavation site will be covered with the tiles, turning it into a new public space for the area, containing a communal memory of the past and the future.
This new village square will function as a meeting place, incorporating ideas from the neighbourhood for surrounding functions. Here the first steps in a communal process with residents, housing coorporation and municipality to redefine the identity of this worker's neighbourhood can be made, forming a core for future developments in Nieuw Lotbroek.