Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries
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Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 1877-7015 - ISSN (Online) 1877-7023
Published by Amsterdam University Press [15 journals]
- Harvesting underwater meadows, use of eelgrass (Zostera spp.) as indicated
by the Dutch archaeological record.
Authors: Wouter van der Meer
Abstract: The main focus of archaeology and its derivative disciplines tends to be on the most common remains from the past. In archaeobotany, for example, there are ample opportunities to study food production and consumption. It is, however, rare that an opportunity presents itself to study different uses of vegetable material. From this perspective it should be interesting to present the case of a different kind of historically documented resource, namely eelgrass (Zostera spp.). Archaeological finds of eelgrass are indeed quite rare. This paper will present a summary of all the documented instances in which eelgrass was discovered in archaeological contexts in the Netherlands, on the basis of available literature and field research in which the author was involved.
- New views on the forfex of Virilis the veterinarian: shears, emasculator
Authors: Stijn Heeren
Abstract: During the excavations of the Roman period rural settlements and cemetery in Tiel-Passewaaij (The Netherlands), a large pair of pincers was found. Following an article from 1973, the object was published as an emasculator at first. However, several equine veterinarians suggested that the pincers may in fact be a twitch (Dutch: praam, German: Bremse, French: mouraille). If it can be established that this new view is correct, it sheds important light on two epigraphical sources: the Vindolanda tablet (TV II, 320) which mentions the veterinarian Virilis and a forfex, and the Aix-en-Provence altar depicting a veterinarian at work. However, this alternative interpretation of the object is not uncontested. This article will discuss the available evidence, both archaeological and veterinarian in nature, to discuss the function of the pincers, as well as some consequences of the identification.
- Coin use in a dynamic frontier region. Late Iron Age coinages in the Lower
Authors: Nico Roymans
Abstract: The introduction of money in the form of standardised objects of value made of metal and bearing images marked a new phenomenon in the pre-Roman societies of Western and Central Europe. In the Late Iron Age, the Lower Rhine region formed part of the northern peripheral zone of the La Tène culture, whose influence in this region has emerged as stronger than was previously thought. This is reflected among other things in the large numbers of ‘Celtic’ coins from this region.1 Although very little was known about these coins until about 1980, the number of coins in the archaeological record, as well as what we know about them, has increased dramatically in recent decades. This study seeks to survey these earliest coinages in the Lower Rhine region. We start with a few introductory remarks about the development of Celtic numismatics, and follow with a discussion of the research potential of coins from the Lower Rhine region. We then survey the evolution of coinage and coin production in this area from the 2nd century BC. The most important coin groups are discussed, with an emphasis on their distribution, dating and possible attribution to a particular tribe. Finally, we address the implications of these coinages for some broader socio-cultural issues. Our aim is to provide answers to the following questions: Why and by whom were Celtic coins produced and in what types of context were they used' To what extent can we link patterns in the numismatic material to the historically documented formation of a series of new tribes in the decades immediately after Caesar’s conquest of Gaul' What factors attributed to the relatively slow, late start of coin use among Lower Rhine groups, and why did the use of coins stop at the Dutch/Belgian coastal plains and the area north of the Rhine delta' We shall argue that the study of coinage from the Lower Rhine region can make a significant and original contribution to our understanding of both Late Iron Age societies in the broader sense, and of their increasing integration into the Roman empire.
- The agency factor in the process of Neolithisation – a Dutch case
Authors: Leendert P. Louwe Kooijmans
Abstract: Multiple, detailed settlement excavations in the Delfland region in the Dutch coastal area have shown that local communities of the Hazendonk group (c. 3500 BC) chose to follow different trajectories in an advanced phase of the Neolithisation process. The Rijswijk community led a fully agrarian life, while the others extensively exploited the rich aquatic resources. The multi-household Schipluiden settlement shows us long continuity, up to the time when the dune on which it lay became submerged, and a strong sense of collectiveness represented by its fences and concentrated wells, whereas other house sites were short-lived and wide apart. This demonstrates that the Neolithisation as a whole should be seen as the outcome of small-scale interaction processes between the native population and the farming communities in the loess zone further south.
- Mesolithic and Neolithic human remains in the Netherlands: physical
anthropological and stable isotope investigations
Authors: E. Smits
Abstract: This article presents an overview of the interdisciplinary study of skeletal remains from Late Mesolithic and Middle Neolithic sites in the Lower Rhine Basin. The combination of archaeological, physical anthropological and chemical analysis has led to a better understanding of the treatment of the dead, demographic parameters and diet of the populations during the transition from forager to farmer in this area. Burial ritual was variable during this whole period, with an above-ground treatment of corpses alongside the burial of deceased. The physical anthropological study has revealed that the sites were inhabited by family groups. Stable isotope analyses have indicated that immigrants were sometimes present and that diet varied per population. Intersite variation in diet is explained by the exploitation of the local habitat. Intrasite variability in diet can be influenced by cultural and social factors as attested by the burial traditions and the isotope study of provenance. It is posited here that the Neolithisation process was not as unambiguous as in some other parts of Europe, but diverse with small-scale variations at the site level.