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

5.1 Wateringen 4 and Wateringse Veld


Fig. 6 Wateringen 4, schematic plan. Scale 1:500. Redrawn after Raemaekers et al. 1997.

The simplest site with the most straightforward layout is Wateringen 4 (fig. 6). Although it hasn’t been excavated in its entirety, the site can still be well characterised (Raemaekers et al. 1997). On top of a relatively small, low dune was a concentration of around 90 postholes measuring approximately 12 x 25 m, within which a two-aisled houseplan of 4 x 11 m was distinguished. Remains of the wooden posts (alder and juniper) had survived in the features, showing that the water level had risen substantially by that time and implying that the site will have been abandoned shortly after. The other postholes may have belonged to one or two previous buildings. At the foot of the dune were a few pits. In view of their situation and the fact that they apparently became filled with clean sand fairly soon it is assumed that they represent temporary sources of drinking water. Settlement refuse was found mainly across the entire old dune area, but some refuse, in particular bones, was also found in the dune’s surroundings, which were bogs at the time. So the site’s dimensions more or less coincide with the dimensions of the dune: 35 x 50 m, based on the distribution of the wells, or 45 x 60 m based on the distribution of the artefacts. Wateringen 4 was unmistakably a single-house site that was used for the duration of at most three successive houses (‘house generations’), or 50 to 75 years. This does not necessarily mean that the occupants deliberately chose to use the site for such a relatively short period of time; they simply won’t have foreseen the rise in water level – when they settled here the dune will have seemed to afford a high and dry place for them to live. The house need not have been entirely isolated either; it may well have formed part of a settlement along with other houses on similar dunes nearby. This option is unfortunately not supported by the sites in Wateringse Veld, where four similar dunes were used by humans, but not as settlement sites (Bakker & Burnier 1997).