The sandy ridge that Alkmaar was built on, is an early dune-range dating back about 4000 years. Mind you, there were no people living in these parts in 3000 BC. The earliest signs in our town of human habitation are from the Bronze Age (2100-800 BC). The first settlement dates back to about 900 BC, just east of the Grote Kerk. It was called Allecmere, which was eventually to become the medieval town of Alkmaar. The major archeological excavation in 2010 on the Paardenmarkt brought numerous late medieval graves to light, especially from the days of the war with the Spaniards in 1573. It is presumed that several dozen geuzen, killed in battle, were buried there. On the Paardenmarkt the finds have been marked with a special type of paving stone. Explanatory plaques and photos tell the story of this outstanding historical square. Another find was a grave from the Iron Age, from shortly before or after the start of our Common Era. The drift-sand reveals the silhouet of a person, reclining on one side, knees drawn up. People in the Iron Age were known to be buried like this. The settlement developed on the east side of an inland dune-range, behind the church mound where the precursors of the Grote Kerk were built. Possibly in more than one sense the safest place around: just slightly elevated and next door to a sacred house of prayer. This was the starting point of ancient sand-roads along the sandy ridges to the next settlements: Heiloo to the south, St Pancras and Oudorp to the northeast. To the west lay younger dunes, the beach and ultimately the sea, which regularly caused dangerous tidal waves, cutting deep into the land. To the east lay an area of swamps with lots of water, ultimately reaching the Zuiderzee. The finest archeological finds are on display in the Stadskantoor in a big display-case. The town archeologists have their offices and workplace at Bergerweg 1.