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Lecture by our archaeologists!

Don't miss this lecture!

On Thursday April 25, Dr. Soetkin Vervust, professor Pieterjan Deckers and PhD student Zoë Vanbiervliet explain the most recent results of the Testerep research during a fascinating lecture.

Please note that this lecture is given in Dutch.

You are welcome at the Duinpanne visitor center, but registration is required through this link.



Visualizing our landscape of the past!

Within the Testerep project, many partners work together to bring the complex history of our Flemish Coast back to life for a wide audience, using the latest techniques and with a dose of creativity. To achieve this, scientists of the project and  computer game developers of Howest-Digital Arts and Entertainment (DAE) meet on a regular basis. With the scientific input from the research, they provide strong visualizations of the landscape's past, for example in the form of images of medieval Ostend before, during and after the devastating storm of 1394.

Curious about the result? We must be patient until December!

Testerep on the International Documentary Festival DOCVILLE!

This evening the Testerep team will be present in Leuven for the premiere of “Testerep” at the International Documentary Festival DOCVILLE! Through Scienceville, the festival focuses on scientific documentaries that you really need to see! Curious about the Testerep film? Watch the trailer here!

Following this premiere, Dr. Soetkin Vervust gave a fascinating interview at "Voorproevers". Listen to it via VRT max!

Project Testerep on the VLIZ Marine Science Day!

Project Testerep is present at the annual VLIZ Marine Science Day! The 400+ visitors will have the opportunity to take a closer look and even touch a sediment core. Together with the geologists working within the project, the visitors will discover all the information that this core reveals regarding climate change and sea level rise.

Explore the ancient writings of Ostend!

The researchers within the Testerep project do not limit themselves to studying the North Sea bed or archaeological excavations on land. They also delve into ancient writings in search of valuable information! Such as the book by Jacobus Bowens from 1792. The writer very accurately described 'The Old and Famous Sea City of Ostend, located in Austrian Flanders'. Would you also like to delve deeper into this literature? This is possible! You can consult the book for free via this link!


Testerep research presented at Heritage Café in Middelkerke

On 28 October 2023, Coastal Heritage will host the 3rd edition of its Heritage Café. This year, the networking event will take place at ‘De Branding’ in Middelkerke. You can expect an afternoon with a mix of lectures, workshops and guided tours. Under the title 'Testerep: searching for traces of the lost coastal island', Soetkin Vervust (VUB) and Ruth Plets (VLIZ) will give the opening lecture. After (and in between) the break-out sessions, there will be time for a drink and networking in the Heritage Café. Register at


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.

Read more

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'.

Listen to the story on Soundcloud (in dutch)

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.

First recordings for the Testerep documentary

Last week, the first footage was made for the upcoming Testerep documentary. The camera crew joined our team’s latest offshore survey. They filmed the different activities on board, such as corings and seismics.

The documentary will give an insight into the different scientific aspects of the project and how they all come together to tell the story of Testerep's evolution.

The documentary was made possible through the support of the VUB and the DOCVILLE filmfestival.

read more about DOCVILLE

Testerep at the XXI INQUA 2023 Congress, Rome

In July, the Testerep project participated in the XXI INQUA 2023 Congress in Rome, Italy. This allowed us to present the project and first results to an audience of experts from diverse disciplines within Quaternary research. It was also a great opportunity for networking, keeping our project up to date with the latest developments and catching up with a number of existing collaborators and colleagues.

Learn more about INQUA

Testerep team bezocht het Verdronken Land van Saeftinghe.

Om te ervaren hoe onze kust er in het verleden moet hebben uitgezien en de werking van een getijdenlandschap aan den lijve te ondervinden ging team Testerep recent een namiddag struinen door geulen, slikken en schorren in het Verdronken Land van Saeftinghe. Het werd een gezellig modderig wandelavontuur.

Foraminifers as a tool to reconstruct Testerep

Have you ever heard of foraminifers? And do you know why they can play an important role in Testerep reconstruction? Well, foraminifers are unicellular organisms with an external calciumcarbonate skeleton (also called test) found in salt water. When the organism dies, over time only the calcareous skeleton remains. Buried under a layer of sediment, these skeletons can preserve in the sea floor for a very long time. By taking a core from the sea floor and then studying the remains of the foraminifers, we get a better idea of the conditions under which the sediment was deposited at the time. This in turn then helps reconstruct the partially drowned Testerep peninsula through time.

Last month, one of the VLIZ researchers attended an intensive workshop on foraminifers in Urbino, Italy. The knowledge gained will be of great help in studying the sampled seafloor cores. Furthermore, the workshop also provided new insights, interdisciplinary collaborations and networking opportunities, which will be very valuable for further research within the project.

More about the international school on foraminifera

Breng Testerep tot leven met een co-creatie met theatergezelschap Vagevuur.

In co-creation with both novice and more experienced writers, theatre company Purgatory aims to bring Testerep's story to life. During the writing workshop at Theatre by the Sea, you will work with professional writing coaches on stories and characters, which will serve as inspiration for the performance 'The Drowned Ballads of Testerep'.

Learn more

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