A rare find at the construction site of the new south bound metro line reveals that the coat of arms of Amsterdam (the three Saint Andrew crosses) is about seventy years older than previously presumed. The discovery of the unique seal pliers from 1350, found during the construction of the North/South metro line has lead archaeologists to reevaluate the city’s history books.
The branding pliers carry the oldest images of Amsterdam’s crest ever found. The stamp had the three detailed characteristic ‘Andreas Crosses’ or ‘St. Andrew’s Cross.’ The appointed cities archaeologist, Jerzy Gawronski, calls the discovery of the two tools unique.
The discovery happened on the Damrak, the pliers were fished out from between the mud 7.5 meters down. After a thorough cleaning and deeper study, Gawronski knew that he held in his hands an object of great importance to Amsterdam’s history. ''It is the oldest Amsterdam brand pliers ever found,” Gawronski stated, “and it even has the cities weapon engraved. In previous documents, the weapon comes from the year 1419. So right now, the symbol goes about 70 years further back, to 1350.”
Amsterdam historian Chap the Rooij of the UvA praises Gawronski and his continuing study. ''There is relatively little information about the birth of Amsterdam. There are not many documents about this city. Do not forget that the city, for a long time, was an inconsiderable settlement. So, little was documented in those times and therefore such rchaeological discoveries are so important.''
The crosses have no definitive origin but theories suggest they may be a warning against dangers of which the city of Amsterdam has survived through; Fire, Flood and the Black Death. Other theories tie the crosses on the coat of arms to the noble family, Persijn. The Knight Jan Persijn was ‘Lord’ of Amstelledamme (Amsterdam) from 1280-1282. These dates seem to be consistent with the recent find at the Amsterdam metro construction site.