My husband Wouter B. Verschoof was born in the fair city of Utrecht as his parents’ second child in 1987. This gorgeous man entered my life when we met at a barrow excavation of the Ancestral Mounds project in 2008, in the Kroondomeinen outside Apeldoorn. I was in the second year of my Archaeology BA, he in his third. Our eyes met over the heaps of spoil and the rest is history. We moved in together in 2009 and apartment-hopped around Leiden a couple of times while we finished our degrees. This led to many conversations that are likely typical for two archeologists living and moving house together but perhaps not for other people. Such as my father picking up a heavy box and exclaiming “is this full of rocks or something?!” and us standing there going “yup” (Wouter’s flint knapping kit and raw material). Or us thinking we had completed the move to our new place only to realize we “[had] left the atlatl spears hanging in the old hallway!”.
Wouter specialized in European Prehistory, Field Archaeology and Material Culture and Artefact studies, writing both his BA and MA theses on the use-wear of amber and jet beads. He even incorporated me into his use-wear experiments by gifting me an amber bead necklace he made himself using Neolithic style tools and techniques, which I wore for years and he occasionally examined to compare the traces of wear that developed over time. We also traveled to the Land of Legends in Lejre to conduct production experiments of amber ax-shaped beads as part of an experimental research grant he obtained.
Our shared passion for archeology and in particular Prehistory has led to many vacations that included visits to Prehistoric sites, such as Brittany and Orkney. The latter we returned to a year later with my best friend Anniek to excavate at the Ness of Brodgar – where Anniek and I would make headlines when we discovered painted walls in the Neolithic house we were excavating. Wouter even ended up in the background of a BBC documentary!
After completing his MA, Wouter worked full time for the commercial excavation company where he had held part-time positions during his studies. While there he not only became an experienced prospector and excavator, he studied to become a geophysical specialist in his own time. After a decade of working in commercial archeology, Wouter recently took up a position as a PhD candidate at Leiden University. His project – which is split between the Faculty of Archaeology and the Leiden Centre of Data Science – focuses on developing tools for the automated detection of archaeological objects in remotely sensed data. In a funny twist of fate, the other PhD position within the Archaeology and Data Science program is an old friend from whom we sublet our first apartment!
Wouter and I got hitched in 2014 in a Medieval Donjon in Lisse. An amazing day filled with love, friends and family – and of course several archeological touches. I made an archeologically themed cake topper for our wedding cake (which we cut with a trowel) and we had find bags filled with candies and excavation tags as wedding favors.
He is gorgeous, funny, caring and the best husband a girl could hope for. And just when I thought I could not love him more, he proved to also be an amazing father to our daughter Leena, whom we welcomed into our family in 2016 (see the Kid).
For more on his work, check out his Academia or Leiden University page.