As from around 500 BC, people settled on terps on the salt marshes along the coasts of Groningen and Friesland. Agriculture was profitable in this fertile area.

Since the 19th century, the word ‘terps’ is used for the artificial dwelling mounds in areas that were open to the sea. In Groningen, the older word ‘wierden’ is still used. During the 19th century, the fertile terp soil was commercially dug off, uncovering many archaeological finds such as pottery and bone implements. This made the terps well-known internationally.


The Association for Terp Research aims at stimulating archaeological research of the habitation history of the salt marsh area south of the Wadden Sea.

The Association finances scientific publications such as dissertations, makes small-scale contributions to the costs of scientific research, and is publisher of two journals. Members can participate in excursions to exhibitions and excavations. The Association attempts to contribute to the protection of terps and the surrounding landscape whenever possible.