Aruban Archaeology at the beginning

In 1880 the Dutch Roman Catholic priest Father Antonius Joannes van Koolwijk was transferred from Curaçao to Aruba. Though not a trained archaeologist, he was an enthusiastic field-worker and a keen observer. It was his interest in Aruba’s Amerindian history that led to the first archaeological investigations in Aruba and today he is considered the first archaeologist of The Leeward Antilles.

Father Van Koolwijk limited his investigations in Aruba to collecting surface material and carrying out small excavations. All of the artifacts found by him were handed over to the Rijks Museum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities ) in Leiden, The Netherlands, in the years 1883, 1885, 1886 and 1887.

At this moment the National Archaeological Museum Aruba displays 5 of these artifacts in its exhibit area, which are the first of the Van Koolwijk collection to have come home.