The history of mound research

Boeles en Van Giffen

wo self-made archaeologists can be considered the founders of modern mound archaeology.

The first is P.C.J.A. Boeles, who in his role as curator of the Fries Museum built up a significant collection of mound finds during the first half of the 20th century and wrote important publications about the ancient history of Friesland.

The second is Albert Egges van Giffen, who conducted research in many mounds and mounds from 1908 onwards, the most famous being Ezinge. From 1920 to 1954 he was director of the Biological-Archaeological Institute of the University of Groningen (now the Groningen Institute for Archaeology).

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Establishment of the Association for Mound Research

The Association for Mound Research was founded in 1916 with the aim of financially supporting Van Giffen's excavations.

The association started with approximately 150 members. he board consisted of scientists and administrators. Subsidies for his excavations were provided through the association. In return, Van Giffen published reports on his excavations in the association's annual reports.. Since the 1950s, the financing of mound excavations has no longer been channeled through the association.

The first mound excavations

The association played an important role in financing Van Giffen's many mound excavations, including De Wierhuizen (1916-17) (2nd Annual Report), Godlinze (1919) (3rd/4th Annual Report), Hatsum (1921-1923) (7th/ 8th Annual Report), Ezinge (1923-1934) and Leens (1939). In Ezinge, Van Giffen exposed the wooden posts and walls of stable houses, which made him world famous.

In the 1940s he shifted his activities to the Roman army base in Valkenburg (South Holland). (Annual reports 25-28, 29-32, 33-37Jaarverslagen 25-28, 29-32, 33-37 and Annual reports 52-54). After he made it clear to the board that this was also a mound, he also received support for these excavations from the Association for Mound Research!

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Recent mound excavations: steep sides

The Groningen Institute for Archeology of the University of Groningen regularly conducts excavations in mounds in Groningen (Englum, Wierum) and Friesland (Anjum-Terpsterweg, Achlum, Jelsum, Oosterbeintum, Firdgum, Arkum, Dronrijp-South and Dronrijp-East). This often concerns mounds that had previously been partially excavated, creating so-called steep edges.

Research on steep slopes provides information about the structure of the mounds and the development of material culture and land use without much cost or disruption.

In the excavated parts there are often still mounds present, the so-called mound soles. These are also easily accessible to archaeologists. The Association for Terpen Research contributes to this research by publishing the research results. An example is the book Terp habitation in Eastern Friesland, which is dedicated to the Anjum-Terpsterweg and Birdaard-De Roomsaus excavations.

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