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Oss - Vorstengrafdonk (2003-2004)

Cite as:

Fokkens, Prof. Dr. H. (Faculteit der Archeologie, Universiteit Leiden); Jansen, R. (): Oss - Vorstengrafdonk (2003-2004). DANS. https://doi.org/10.17026/dans-x9b-aeav

2004 Fokkens, Prof. Dr. H. (Faculteit der Archeologie, Universiteit Leiden); Jansen, R. 10.17026/dans-x9b-aeav

In 1933 is door de heer Holwerda een grafheuvel in Oss onderzocht die door de vondst van ijzeren paardentuig, een bronzen emmer (situla) en vele andere grafgiften bekend kwam te staan als Het vorstengraf van Oss. Het terrein is later in gebruik genomen als woonwagenkamp en autosloperij. De hierdoor ontstane vervuiling wordt sinds het begin van dit jaar door de Gemeente Oss gesaneerd. Alhoewel het hele terrein sinds 1995 door Archol en de Faculteit der Archeologie met proefsleuven is onderzocht, heeft de begeleiding van de sanering de meest interessante resultaten opgeleverd.

Oss - Vorstengrafdonk



Princely Grave of Oss

In 1933 south of Oss an area of heath was reclaimed in order to prepare a camp site for a number of gypsy wagons. During the digging operations a few urns were found and soon it became clear that an urnfield was being levelled. In a rather large hill, the workmen discovered a large bronze urn and stopped digging. The National museum of Antiquities in Leiden was warned. Next day dr. F. Bursch came from Leiden, covered the urn with gypsum and took it with him. In Leiden it proved to contain two Iron knives, several parts of hoarse gear and an Iron sword inlaid with gold. The situla contained the ashes of dead person in his forties. The grave became well known as the 'princely grave of Oss'.

After the find, in 1933 a small excavation was carried out by dr. Holwerda. He discovered two ring ditches around the grave, one of 11 m in cross section, the other of 52 m. The latter ditch make the barrow the largest in the Netherlands. Photographs taken during the excavation show that the barrow was built of sods en must have been at least 3 m high. The smaller ring ditch now appears to be part of an older (Bronze Age) barrow.

In 1935 three more barrows were excavated, two dating to the Middle Bronze Age, one to the Late Neolithic. Also in 1972, when a highway was built just south of the area several urn graves came to light. Again these were superficially documented and a golden opportunity for research was - alas - passed. The area was not preserved as a area for archaeological attention, let alone as a monument. This is a pity because it is quite clear that around the 'princely grave' a large cemetery with a long history was present that had been a central site in the prehistoric landscape for a long time.

Recently the site of this cemetery, after having been used as a car dump for several years, has become part of a new industrial estate. Since the topsoil of the entire area of 10 ha is polluted now it had have to be removed and cleaned. All traces of the prehistoric cemetery were therefore threatened by destruction. The entire area was surveyd. We used the 'French' method, which means digging narrow trenches every 10 m over the whole length of the terrain. In this phase of research features were only be documented, not excavated. After the survey the extension of the cemetery and the prehistoric landscape around the grave were well documented, but parts will be reserved for later research.