Prof. dr. David Fontijn

David Fontijn (1971-2023) was professor in the Archaeology of Early Europe at the Faculty of Archaeology, University of Leiden, the Netherlands. His research dealt with the early agrarian societies of Europe from prehistory up until the early historical period, with a particular focus on the Bronze and (early) Iron Age, the exchange and deposition of metalwork and the archaeology of so-called ritual landscapes. He led the NWO-VICI project ‘Economies of Destruction’ investigating the puzzling destruction of valuable objects in Bronze Age Europe (2015-).

He graduated and wrote his PhD-thesis at Leiden University, both theses were marked cum laude and both were awarded the W.A. van Es Prize for Dutch Archaeology (1996 and 2003). His book ‘Sacrificial landscapes’ was also awarded the Praemium Erasmianum Study Prize (2003). He had a short-list nomination for best teacher of Leiden University in 2005 and won this LSR Teaching award in 2008. His project ‘Ancestral Mounds’ received the SIKB Prize for best archaeological research team in 2009 and a book resulting from it was received by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in 2012. Fontijn was senior research fellow in the excellence cluster ‘TOPOI’ in Berlin, where he worked at the Eurasia Department of the German Archaeological Institute DAI (2009-2010). From 2013-2016, he was director of Research at the Faculty of Archaeology.

Recent books are ‘Living near the dead’ (2010, editor and co-author), ‘Iron Age Echoes’ (co-editor with Q. Bourgeois and A. Louwen and co-author), ‘Transformation Through Destruction’ (co-editor with S. van der Vaart and R. Jansen and co-author), and ‘Beyond Barrows’ (co-editor with A. Louwen, S. van der Vaart, and K. Wentink and co-author). The volume ‘Death Revisited’ (co-editor with A. Louwen and co-author) came out in 2018, and he published an acclaimed book on deposition with Routledge entitled ‘Economies of Destruction’ in 2020. David Fontijn was working on a book offering a new perspective on the Bronze Age when he sadly passed away in 2023.

His In Memoriam can be found here.

Books by David Fontijn

(On)aangenaam verleden

Waarom het verleden ertoe doet en archeologie geschiedenis moet schrijven

David Fontijn | 2023

Met het huidige archeologisch bestel, de impact van de ‘third science’- revolutie en de toenemende aandacht voor erfgoed lijkt de Nederlandse archeologie sterker in de samenleving verankerd dan ooit. Maar wie zit er eigenlijk te…

Death Revisited

The excavation of three Bronze Age barrows and surrounding landscape at Apeldoorn-Wieselseweg

Arjan Louwen & David Fontijn | 2019

This book presents a group of small and inconspicuous barrows that were recently discovered in the forest of Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. They are part of an extensive barrow landscape of which little was yet known.…

Sacrificial Landscapes

Cultural biographies of persons, objects and 'natural' places in the Bronze Age of the Southern Netherlands, c. 2300-600 BC

David Fontijn | 2013

One of the most puzzling phenomena of the European Bronze Age, is that many communities buried or otherwise hid large numbers of valuable bronze objects, but never returned to retrieve them. This book focuses on…

Transformation through Destruction

A monumental and extraordinary Early Iron Age Hallstatt C barrow from the ritual landscape of Oss-Zevenbergen

edited by David Fontijn, Sasja van der Vaart-Verschoof & Richard Jansen | 2013

Some 2800 years ago, a man died in what is now the municipality of Oss, the Netherlands. His death must have been a significant event in the life of local communities, for he received an…

Beyond Barrows

Current research on the structuration and perception of the Prehistoric Landscape through Monuments

edited by David Fontijn, Arjan Louwen, Sasja van der Vaart-Verschoof & Karsten Wentink | 2013

Europe is dotted with tens of thousands of prehistoric barrows. In spite of their ubiquity, little is known on the role they had in pre- and protohistoric landscapes. In 2010, an international group of archaeologists…

Iron Age Echoes

Prehistoric land management and the creation of a funerary landscape - the “twin barrows” at the Echoput in Apeldoorn

Edited by David Fontijn, Quentin Bourgeois & Arjan Louwen | 2011

Groups of burial mounds may be among the most tangible and visible remains of Europe’s prehistoric past. Yet, not much is known on how “barrow landscapes” came into being . This book deals with that…

Living Near the Dead

The barrow excavations of Rhenen-Elst: Two millennia of burial and habitation on the Utrechtse Heuvelrug

David Fontijn (ed.) | 2010

The hills overlooking the north flank of the Rhine valley in the Netherlands are dotted with hundreds of prehistoric burial mounds. Only a few of them were ever investigated by archaeologists, and even nowadays the…

Larger than Life

The Ommerschans hoard and the role of giant swords in the European Bronze Age (1500-1100 BC)

Edited by Luc W.S.W. Amkreutz & David Fontijn | Forthcoming

In 1896 a remarkable hoard was discovered near Ommerschans in the eastern Netherlands that included a spectacular object: a giant bronze sword. It was obtained by the landowner and kept by a forester, until it…

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