Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries 2-2 (November 2010)Lucas Meurkens: The late medieval/Early Modern reuse of prehistoric barrows as execution sites in the southern part of the Netherlands
4 Prehistoric barrows reused as gallows hills: four sites in the southern part of the Netherlands

4.4 Goirle, municipality of Tilburg (province of Noord-Brabant)

In 1937 the Department of Archaeology at Groningen University excavated a group of barrows near Goirle on a moor called ‘Rechte Heide’ under the supervision of A.E. van Giffen (Van Giffen 1937). The group was referred to by the toponym ‘Vijfberg’ (Five Mounds). One of the barrows (tumulus 2) yielded evidence in the form of medieval or Early Modern human skeletal remains showing that it had been used as a gallows/execution site. Unfortunately, the remains were not examined any further at the time. Van Giffen had heard old rumours claiming that Vijfberg had been used as a gallows/execution site, but in his report he does not specify the precise content of those rumours. They may have been partly based on the name of the moor on which the barrow group was situated. A map dating from 1792 shows this as “Regt Heide”, suggesting a connection between the site and rechtspraak, the Dutch term for the administration of justice.

In the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, Vijfberg also lay in the gemeint, far away from occupation centres. The barrows lay close to the boundary between Goirle and Alphen.