Living Near the Dead

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

David Fontijn (ed.) | 2010

Living Near the Dead

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

David Fontijn (ed.) | 2010

ISBN: 9789088900556

Imprint: Sidestone Press | Format: 210x297mm | 180 pp. | Excavation report, Leiden University, the Netherlands | Language: English | 45 illus. (bw) | 53 illus. (fc) | Keywords: prehistoric archaeology, barrows, excavation techniques | download cover

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 many barrows preserved in the extensive forests of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug are the oldest visible witnesses of a remote, but largely unknown prehistoric past.

In 2006, a team of archaeologists of the Ancestral Mounds project of Leiden University set out to investigate these age-old monuments. Parts of two neighbouring mounds at Elst, in the municipality of Rhenen, were excavated, and numerous finds collected by amateur archaeologists were retrieved and studied. As a result, the research team was able to reconstruct the formation and histories of this barrow landscape from 2000 BC onwards. Contrary to what was initially thought, the Elst barrows appeared not to have been situated within a separate ceremonial landscape, but were rather closely linked with the world of daily living. Throughout the Bronze Age and Iron Age, people had been ‘living near the dead’.

The finds discussed in this book include a rare example of an Early Bronze Age burial mound, examples of pottery deposition, remains of a Middle Bronze Age ‘Hilversum-Period’ settlement and many indications for mundane and ritual uses of the barrows in the later Iron Age.



This publication is part of the Ancestral Mounds Research Project of the University of Leiden: overview of the other Ancestral Mounds-publications

Prof. dr. David Fontijn

David Fontijn is professor in the Archaeology of Early Europe at the Faculty of Archaeology, University of Leiden, the Netherlands. His research deals with the early agrarian societies of Europe from prehistory up until the early historical period, with special attention to the Bronze Age and (early) Iron Age, the exchange and deposition of metalwork and on the archaeology of so-called “ritual” landscapes. He is currently leading the NWO-VICI project “Economies of Destruction” investigating the puzzling destruction of valuable objects in Bronze Age Europe (2015-).

read more

Abstract:

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 many barrows preserved in the extensive forests of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug are the oldest visible witnesses of a remote, but largely unknown prehistoric past.

In 2006, a team of archaeologists of the Ancestral Mounds project of Leiden University set out to investigate these age-old monuments. Parts of two neighbouring mounds at Elst, in the municipality of Rhenen, were excavated, and numerous finds collected by amateur archaeologists were retrieved and studied. As a result, the research team was able to reconstruct the formation and histories of this barrow landscape from 2000 BC onwards. Contrary to what was initially thought, the Elst barrows appeared not to have been situated within a separate ceremonial landscape, but were rather closely linked with the world of daily living. Throughout the Bronze Age and Iron Age, people had been ‘living near the dead’.

The finds discussed in this book include a rare example of an Early Bronze Age burial mound, examples of pottery deposition, remains of a Middle Bronze Age ‘Hilversum-Period’ settlement and many indications for mundane and ritual uses of the barrows in the later Iron Age.



This publication is part of the Ancestral Mounds Research Project of the University of Leiden: overview of the other Ancestral Mounds-publications

Prof. dr. David Fontijn

David Fontijn is professor in the Archaeology of Early Europe at the Faculty of Archaeology, University of Leiden, the Netherlands. His research deals with the early agrarian societies of Europe from prehistory up until the early historical period, with special attention to the Bronze Age and (early) Iron Age, the exchange and deposition of metalwork and on the archaeology of so-called “ritual” landscapes. He is currently leading the NWO-VICI project “Economies of Destruction” investigating the puzzling destruction of valuable objects in Bronze Age Europe (2015-).

read more









© 2016 Sidestone Press      KvK nr. 28114891