Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries 1-1 (May 2009)Leendert P. Louwe Kooijmans: The agency factor in the process of Neolithisation – a Dutch case study1
5 The settlement system

5.2 Wateringen 4 versus Ypenburg


Fig. 7 Ypenburg, schematic plans, phases 3/C (top) and 11/K (bottom). Scale 1:5000. N.B. the cemetery cannot be dated to any of the phases. Redrawn after Koot et al. 2008.

The occupation remains on the large dune of Ypenburg can be regarded as representing a multiple of Wateringen 4 (Koot et al. 2008). The entire dune complex originally measured 100 x 750 m, but the eastern half later disappeared due to erosion by a younger tidal channel. Two main occupation phases were distinguished, separated by a period of frequent sand drifts. Seven concentrations of postholes were found on the surviving part – three dating from phase 3/C and four from phase 11/K – with dimensions ranging from 20 x 20 m to 30 x 40 m (fig. 7). In four cases the plan of a small, rectangular, two-aisled house measuring at most 4.5 x 10 m could be made out. Many wells were found in association with these concentrations of postholes/house sites. Most had been dug next to the houses, in groups at the periphery of the dune, allowing us to distinguish activity areas with diameters between 50 and 80 m. Not clear is whether the concentrations of postholes dating from each of the two phases represent several contemporary or successive houses. Arguments favouring the first option are that the plans lie at fairly regular distances from one another – centre-to-centre distances of 100-150 m – and that they are separated by areas with very few features and finds. This holds for the plans from both occupation phases.

In terms of numbers of features – postholes, pits, wells – Ypenburg is roughly ten times the size of Wateringen, which is in accordance with the theory that the seven concentrations plus the features that have not been dated to either one of the two phases coincide with the same number of ‘Wateringens’. Considering the number of features and the identifiability of the plans, the Ypenburg concentrations will likewise represent only a few house generations. The comparison however falls short when it comes to the numbers of finds. This is attributable to differences in the archaeological formation processes: burial, preservation and disturbance.