The "Princess of Zweeloo"
To be honest, a Princess of Zweeloo probably never existed. Archaeologists gave this nickname to the woman whose grave was discovered half a century ago in a field near Zweeloo. Apart from a vague silhouette of a body, dozens of pieces of jewellery and the remains of her clothing were also found.
Reconstruction of the outfit of the “Princess of Zweeloo”
The grave on the Hooge Esch
The grave of the Princess was discovered in 1952 on the Hooge Esch opposite the twelfth-century church of Zweeloo during a sand excavation. In the still unexcavated part of the field the archaeologists found more than a hundred graves from the Early Middle Ages, the period from 400 to 850 AD. So the burial field was in use even before the arrival of Christianity and therefore before the first church was built in Zweeloo.
On the edge of the field there is an information board with a lengthy explanation about the Princess of Zweeloo. She must have lived around 450 AD. We do not know how old she was when she died. But we do know that she must have been between 1.65 and 1.70 metres tall. Thanks to the textile fragments which were found with her, it was possible to make a reconstruction of her clothing. She wore an intricately woven linen gown with a woollen cloak or shawl over it. The cloak was fastened with a decorative cloak pin in the shape of a butterfly. The woman wore a string of 130 small glass beads and another of 100 amber beads. She was buried with grave goods including a silver ring, an amulet made of a beaver tooth, silver toilet articles, thirty large glass beads, a bronze armband and two bronze keys. Is it any wonder that she was called the Princess of Zweeloo?
The bronze cloak pin
Location of the burial site of the Princess of Zweeloo
Coördinates: 52°47’37.7″N 6°44’30.0″E
- De Wheem 10
- 7851 TA Zweeloo