Ancient ‘sacred’ yew discovered in Winterswijk – Early Birds

Ancient 'sacred' yew discovered in Winterswijk - Early Birds

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© Gert Elbertsen

Cultural historian and ecologist Bert Maes may have discovered an indigenous population of yew in a secret location near Winterswijk. The yew, a coniferous tree with red berries, played an important religious role in pre-Christian Europe. So it is likely that these Jews are descendants of the trees that our ancestors revered.

Most likely a citizen

Yew is a popular plant species in the garden. It is easy to prune and is therefore often used as a hedge. These yews are either imported or cultivated; Not indigenous. Almost all yews in Dutch nature have their origins in gardens.

Maces cannot rule out with certainty that the Jews found came from a garden, but everything indicates that these Jews are indigenous. They look like wild yew trees, males and females are there and because there are other wild species such as wild apple and wild winter lime, the forest is clearly very old.

Bert Maes and Caroline Van Diest

© Gert Elbertsen

Very important for grandparents

The yew was a very important tree to our ancestors, says forest anthropologist Carolyn Van Diest. Religious attributes from that time were almost always made of yew wood, and Yggdrasil – the mythical World Tree – after new linguistic research turned out not to be ash, but yew.

All the more reason to protect this special category of yews. Mace: “The very old thing, older than dolmens, is something very special. We have to be very careful with that.”

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