Top results and research prove: Groningen is the cradle of curling. Curling stone (from a canal from 1356) on display at the Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum / Museum aan de A

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M. Modderman with the world’s oldest curling stone. Photo: Northern Maritime Museum/Museum on Route A

In her search for winter scenes during the Little Ice Age for the RuG Art History course, student M.Modderman came across an impressive round stone in the repository of the Northern Maritime Museum/Museum at A. Close research has shown it to be the oldest curled stone in the world. To be seen on April 1.

This one-of-a-kind discovery will be showcased at the 2022 LGT World Men’s Curling Championships to be held from April 2-10 in Las Vegas, USA. Despite disappointing results at the Winter Olympics, the Dutch men’s team qualified for it.

Before the find can be seen in Los Angeles, interested parties can view the private stone for free on Friday, April 1 between 10:00 and 17:00 in the Northern Maritime Museum/Museum Entrance Hall at A, Brugstraat 24-26.

stone origin

The curling stone was found in 2002 filling a trench around a castle that had already been lost in 1356, where the University of Groningen’s campus in Zerniklan is now located. This castle was once the residence of the Lords of Selwerd, who owned a second castle near Paddepoelsterweg and a “city castle” at Martinikerkhof. A general article about this castle was published in 2003 in the Hervonden Stad series.

Little Ice Age

The Little Ice Age is the period between the fourteenth and nineteenth centuries during which global warming after the last Ice Age decreased slightly, the average annual temperature became slightly lower and the winters were cooler. Since that time, popular paintings and prints of Dutch winter scenes have appeared, such as Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap (Brukenthal Museum), from 1631. This shows two players and three screwballs.

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Research has shown

The round stone was actually excavated in 2002, but it had not been scrutinized before. Today the stones are made of granite. This is still made of fine sandstone. At the top of the stone there is a hole that runs all the way down, where the typical wooden handle used to be. Four more holes must be created on purpose to allow air friction to create the characteristic curvature. Using advanced 3D holography and electron microscopy, and through a thorough analysis of grinding path patterns on the underside and impact cones on the edge, Muderman concludes that this stone must have been the primary version of modern curling stone. In general, it can be concluded that, given the current knowledge, curling is one of Groningen’s sports.

This article is the product of a collaboration between the editors Dagblad van het Noorden and Groninger Gezinsbode

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