Large Stone Age grave field discovered in Dalfsen (Netherlands)

Big archeological news from the Netherlands: in Dalfsen (province Overijssel) a large grave field has been found, possibly the largest of its kind found until now.

The 5000 years old field belongs to the Funnelbeaker culture, which is named after the typically shaped beakers found in the area (Nort-central Europe) where they lived. In the Netherlands, they are best known for building the hunebeds.

The size of 120 graves makes researchers think that not only the elite were buried in graves. As many as 6 generations of whole families may be buried here. This is only a conclusion of observation and theories at the moment though, since no skeletons have been found. Thus it is not known what kind of people (sex, age, etc.) were buried, although it is clear that grown-ups as well as children found their place here.

More details about the field: it’s sized about 120 x 20 m. and has a large earthen monument in its center. Each grave holds at least one funnelbeaker as a gift, as well as other gifts such as axes, spearpoints, and barnstone necklaces. Black specks were also seen in the earth, which may indicate that proviands such as grains were given to the dead in the other world. Some graves are egg-shaped, some have been timbered. What the shape of the graves and the kinds of gifts have to say about the persons lying in the graves is still debated.

Right next to the grave field was a farmstead. The farm itself housed a grave, too. Archeologists conclude from this that the Funnelbeaker people living here probably had a very different, closer relationshop towards their dead than we do now.

More information, including pictures (Dutch):

Kennislink: Grootste grafveld Nederlandse Steentijdmensen ontdekt

RTL Nieuws: Grafveld uit Steentijd ontdekt bij Dalfsen

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