In the summer of 1954 one of the labourers working in the Wieringermeer (one of the reclaimed polders in the former Zuiderzee) dug up a large quantity of cowry-shells (Monetaria moneta and M. annulus) which were lying close together at about 80 cm below the surface. In all between 3000 and 4000 cowries were found. This assemblage probably formed part of the cargo of a wrecked trading vessel bound for Amsterdam from the East Indies (where the cowries were fished), or on the outward journey from Amsterdam to West Africa (where the cowries are not indigenous) and where in the 16th to 19th centuries goods and slaves were purchased with oriental cowries. The cowry treasure in the Wieringermeer is reminiscent of a similar shipwreck near Westkapelle in the province of Zeeland where in 1738 a frigate of the Dutch East Indian Company was stranded on the beach and lost its cargo, including a great number of cowries. Since that date cowries are found now and again in varying numbers on the North Sea beach of the province of Zeeland, where the farmers still use them nowadays as counters in card and other round games.