Altar for Nehalennia


Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
Leiden, Netherlands

On January 5, 1647, a heavy storm caused dozens of stone monuments, dedicated to the goddess Nehalennia, to come to the surface on the beach of the town of Domburg. More than three centuries later the goddess unexpectedly surfaced again. On April 14, 1970, while fishing in the Oosterschelde river in the vicinity of Colijnsplaat, skipper K.J. Bout discovered four large pieces of stone in his nets. Research showed that these pieces belonged to altars, dedicated to this goddess. Eventually, around 200 altars were brought to the surface. Probably these altars were swallowed up by the sea as early as the 3rd century A.D. The parts lying in the clay soil have been preserved intact.
Originally, Nehalennia was a goddess of fertility. Moreover, she was the patroness of hearth and home, of which the dog was a symbol. On top of that, she was the patroness of sailors, and as such was often depicted with a ship’s helm.


  • Title: Altar for Nehalennia
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 0150/0250
  • Location: Colijnsplaat, Nederland
  • Physical Dimensions: h95.5 cm
  • Datering: 150-250
  • Afmetingen: 59 x 37,5 x 19 x cm
  • Type: altar
  • External Link: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
  • Medium: stone ; limestone

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