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

5.3 Wateringen 4 and Ypenburg versus Schipluiden


Fig. 8 Schipluiden, schematic plan. Scale c. 1:1000. Redrawn after Louwe Kooijmans & Jongste 2005.

With its finds and features covering a distribution area of 70 x 120 m, Schipluiden (fig. 8) is quite a bit larger than Wateringen 4 and the individual concentrations of Ypenburg (Louwe Kooijmans & Jongste 2006). The site has a very high density of features, covering the entire dune area, but especially the highest part. In the course of the occupation period, but above all in the earliest phases, an impressive number of 145 wells were dug on the northern side and to a lesser extent in other parts of the dune. At some stage the occupants enclosed their entire settlement with a fence erected precisely at the boundary between their site and the surrounding aquatic deposits. This fence was replaced by a new structure on two occasions, each time a little higher up the slope due to the rising water level (fig. 9). On the basis of the posthole concentrations and the distribution of finds in the adjacent long refuse zone, and the continuity in the deposition of that refuse throughout the four distinguished phases, it is assumed that the site represents the permanent settlement of four or five households over a period of roughly 250 years. The fact that no unmistakable house plans can be made out in the posthole concentrations is assumed to be attributable to long-term use of the same house sites.


Fig. 9 Schipluiden. Features of one of the fence enclosures. After Louwe Kooijmans & Jongste 2005.

The number of pits and wells found at Schipluiden is one-and-a-half times that found at Ypenburg and thirteen times the number at Wateringen. This agrees well with the differences in intensity of use. Schipluiden had four to five times as many households as Wateringen and was occupied for a period three to four times as long. It also agrees with the view that Ypenburg was occupied by three or four households in two phases that will together not have exceeded the period of occupation of Schipluiden. So in these respects the evidence presents a consistent picture and the three sites do not seem to differ materially from one another. The greater number of postholes at Schipluiden (a factor of four greater), however, cannot be attributed to such factors as differences in preservation or the employed excavation methods. It must imply a considerably greater number of structures at this settlement – most probably fences. There are some substantial differences in the ratios of the different categories of finds and features. For example, in comparison with Schipluiden, a relatively large amount of pottery was found at Wateringen. This can be attributed to differences in deposition and erosion between the two sites. At both sites the pottery was concentrated around the settlements; this was particularly evident at Wateringen. At Schipluiden the distribution pattern had been severely disturbed by the erosion of the top part of the dune, which led to the disappearance of many remains. When we add to this the destructive effect of trampling during the intensive occupation of Schipluiden the differences between the sites are largely explained. The ratios of the flint and stone objects will have suffered less disturbance because erosion and trampling will have had a much lesser impact in the case of these categories.