With pick and shovel
Already from the late 19th century onwards, the first “archaeological” excavations in Raeren were performed. Renaissance stoneware was very famous and was highly coveted by collectors. The Raeren chaplain J. Schmitz undertook the first excavations, together with the Aachen industrialist and art collector Laurenz Adalbert Hetjens. They found among other things the workshop of Ian Emens Mennicken in the quarter of the Pfau. Many of the excavated showpieces ended up in the hands of collectors and can nowadays be seen in museums of applied arts.
One of the first men who wrote about Raeren stoneware, the Englishman M.L. Solon, presents Raeren stoneware in his book "The ancient art stoneware of the low countries and Germany", Vol. I, London 1892, with a pick and a shovel. He took part in the first excavations.
With buckets and wheelbarrows
In the years following the war more construction work took place in the village of Raeren with the consequence that ditches full of shards and remains of potter's kilns were found repeatedly. Dr. Michel Kohnemann and Dr. Otto Eugen Mayer analysed these numerous finds and thereof established the base stock of the collection of the Pottery Museum Raeren.
Shard ditches could be many metres thick. At that time especially the simple kitchenware of practical use was found and analysed. Until then it had been mostly unknown. Most museum collections only possess richly decorated Renaissance ceramics.
With brush and trowel
Illicit excavations in Raeren are still daily fare. Raiders do not only steal historico-cultural property of the Raeren people. They also destroy the contexts of the finds from which archaeologist could draw important conclusions and new insights.
Today, archaeologists work with brushes and trowels and make use of the most modern scientific research methods.
One of the most interesting excavations took place in the years 2000 - 2003, performed by the archaeological service of the German-speaking community of Belgium. During this excavation the building structure of an old potter's wheel could be documented for the very first time (see picture gallery).