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

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

ISBN: 9789088901027

Imprint: Sidestone Press | Format: 210x297mm | 348 pp. | Language: English | 39 illus. (bw) | 189 illus. (fc) | Category: archaeology, prehistory, iron age, Hallstatt, barrow excavation, excavation techniques, burial ritual | download cover

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 extraordinary funeral, which ended with the construction of an impressive barrow.

Based on the meticulous excavation and a range of specialist and comprehensive studies of finds, a prehistoric burial ritual now can be brought to life in surprising detail. An Iron Age community used extraordinary objects that find their closest counterpart in the elite graves of the Hallstatt culture in Central Europe. This book will discuss how lavishly decorated items were dismantled and taken apart to be connected with the body of the deceased, all to be destroyed by fire. In what appears to be a meaningful pars pro toto ritual, the remains of his body, the pyre, and the objects were searched through and moved about, with various elements being manipulated, intentionally broken, and interred or removed. In essence, a person and a place were transformed through destruction.

The book shows how the mourners carefully, almost lovingly covered the funeral remains with a barrow. Attention is also given to another remarkable monument, long mound 6, located immediately adjacent to mound 7. Excavations show how mound 7 was part of an age-old ritual heath landscape that was entirely restructured during the Early Iron Age, when it became the setting for the building of no less than three huge Hallstatt C barrows. Thousands of years later, during the Late Middle Ages, this landscape underwent a complete transformation of meaning when the prehistoric barrows became the scenery for a macabre display of the cadavers of executed criminals.



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

Drs. Richard Jansen

Richard Jansen is part-time lecturer in field archaeology at the Faculty of Archaeology, University of Leiden and also municipal-archaeologist of Oss. His (PhD-)research focuses on the long-term structuring of the (settlement-)landscape from the late prehistory until the Roman Period, especially on the extensively researched sandy soils of Oss, but also within the larger MSD-region.

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Sasja van der Vaart-Verschoof RMA

Sasja van der Vaart-Verschoof is currently a PhD researcher at the Faculty of Archaeology, University of Leiden, the Netherlands. She was awarded a NWO research grant for her PhD project entitled Constructing powerful identities. The conception and meaning of ‘rich’ Hallstatt burials in the Low Countries (800-500 BC).

read more

Dr. David Fontijn

Dr David Fontijn is associate professor in European Archaeology at the Faculty of Archaeology, University of Leiden, the Netherlands. His research focuses on the European Bronze Age and Early Iron Age, in particular on the exchange and deposition of metalwork, and on the archaeology of so-called “ritual” landscapes. He graduated and wrote his PhD. thesis at Leiden University, both marked cum laude.

read more

Abstract:

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 extraordinary funeral, which ended with the construction of an impressive barrow.

Based on the meticulous excavation and a range of specialist and comprehensive studies of finds, a prehistoric burial ritual now can be brought to life in surprising detail. An Iron Age community used extraordinary objects that find their closest counterpart in the elite graves of the Hallstatt culture in Central Europe. This book will discuss how lavishly decorated items were dismantled and taken apart to be connected with the body of the deceased, all to be destroyed by fire. In what appears to be a meaningful pars pro toto ritual, the remains of his body, the pyre, and the objects were searched through and moved about, with various elements being manipulated, intentionally broken, and interred or removed. In essence, a person and a place were transformed through destruction.

The book shows how the mourners carefully, almost lovingly covered the funeral remains with a barrow. Attention is also given to another remarkable monument, long mound 6, located immediately adjacent to mound 7. Excavations show how mound 7 was part of an age-old ritual heath landscape that was entirely restructured during the Early Iron Age, when it became the setting for the building of no less than three huge Hallstatt C barrows. Thousands of years later, during the Late Middle Ages, this landscape underwent a complete transformation of meaning when the prehistoric barrows became the scenery for a macabre display of the cadavers of executed criminals.



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

Drs. Richard Jansen

Richard Jansen is part-time lecturer in field archaeology at the Faculty of Archaeology, University of Leiden and also municipal-archaeologist of Oss. His (PhD-)research focuses on the long-term structuring of the (settlement-)landscape from the late prehistory until the Roman Period, especially on the extensively researched sandy soils of Oss, but also within the larger MSD-region.

read more

Sasja van der Vaart-Verschoof RMA

Sasja van der Vaart-Verschoof is currently a PhD researcher at the Faculty of Archaeology, University of Leiden, the Netherlands. She was awarded a NWO research grant for her PhD project entitled Constructing powerful identities. The conception and meaning of ‘rich’ Hallstatt burials in the Low Countries (800-500 BC).

read more

Dr. David Fontijn

Dr David Fontijn is associate professor in European Archaeology at the Faculty of Archaeology, University of Leiden, the Netherlands. His research focuses on the European Bronze Age and Early Iron Age, in particular on the exchange and deposition of metalwork, and on the archaeology of so-called “ritual” landscapes. He graduated and wrote his PhD. thesis at Leiden University, both marked cum laude.

read more









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