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


1. “Das er nimmer zu Erde bestattet werde, der Wind ihn verwehe, die Krahen, Raben und Tiere in der Luft ihn verfuhren und verzehren” (Ström 1942, 160-161).

2. A previous (Dutch) version of the present article.

3. GrN-29554: 725 ± 40 BP. With 95.4% certainty the calibrated date lies between AD 1210 and 1310 (86.8%) or AD 1360 and 1390 (8.6%).

4. GrN-41266: 450 ± 35 BP. With 95.4% certainty the calibrated date lies between AD 1400 and 1500 (93.9%) or AD 1600 and 1610. (1.5%).

5. Literally the term means Hun’s burial. It probably refers to megalithic tombs of the Neolithic Funnel Beaker Culture. In the northern part of the Netherlands these megaliths are known as ‘Hunebed’ (Hun’s bed).

6. “den berch, daer Morren alden-vader gehangen waert” (Van den Brand 1982).

7. Jan van den Plas was the high sheriff of ’s Hertogenbosch in the years 1311-1312 and in 1317 (‘s Hertogenbosch city archives: (last accessed on 1 May 2010) ).

8. The term used in the chronicle is ‘palinge’. This refers to palen (posts). The villagers were supposed to walk along a route marked out by posts. In the Middle Ages and later, posts were often used to mark boundaries. Other markers, such as a hole in the ground, a tree or a large boulder, could also be used. The same terminology was often used when referring to the latter. In 1826 mounds of sand (barrows?) at the boundary between Veldhoven and Riethoven were referred to as aardpalen (‘earthen posts’) (Van Asseldonk 2002, 43-44).

9. “[...] totten Witten Scilberge toe ende wesen dair enen pael dair heer Ian, scouthet voirs., dede setten die galge met enen styll; ende voirt gingen die voirs. zeven mannen van den Witten Scilberge all totten Dedwech ende van den Dedwech in de stege tot Slaebroeck ende vandair voirt op Hanenberch, vandair voirt op Sleecberch tot midden in den Erpt” (Van Lith-Droogleever Fortuijn et al. 1997, 96-97).

10. An exception are the linear earthworks, which did have negative connotations. These monuments were often used to mark boundaries and it would seem that the negative connotations were in this case based on their function as boundary markers.