University of Groningen starts archaeological research at Hunebed D29 near Borger (Netherlands)
Researchers and students from the University of Groningen (RUG) will start an archaeological survey on a site near hunebed D29 near Borger on 26 June. For four weeks, under the leadership of Prof Daan Raemaekers, they will search for the answer to the question of what the area around the hunebed was used for in the past.
The hunebeds are Stone Age monuments and are about 5,000 years old. They are well protected. Archaeological research near or around a hunebed is therefore rare nowadays and can only be done under strict conditions. The RUG’s research therefore does not take place in the hunebed, but rather in the area around it. The RUG has received permission for the research from the Borger-Odoorn municipality, the Drentse Landschap Foundation and the National Cultural Heritage Agency. The condition for granting permission is that the research is limited in scope in order to preserve as much as possible in situ.
Role of the area around hunebeds
Prehistoric farmers built the hunebeds, burial chambers made of large stones, after which the chamber was covered with a sand mound. People were buried in the chambers whose bones have long since decayed. We know much less about the role the area around the hunebeds played in the past: did people live here? Were people also buried here? Did ritual activities take place here? These are the questions central to the research.
Hunebed D28 and D29
The central government has legally protected important archaeological sites in the Netherlands with the aim of securing them for the future. On one of these sites in the Borger-Odoorn municipalities are hunebeds D28 and D29. Hunebed D28 has been excavated; hunebed D29 and the terrain surrounding the hunebeds have never been scientifically investigated.
Aim of the study This study aims to increase scientific knowledge about hunebed D29 and the area around the hunebed. The site manager (Het Drentse Landschap) can use this knowledge to take into account when managing the monument site, while the national government can use this knowledge for protection policy. Finally, the excavation provides an opportunity to train students of archaeology.