Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries 1-2 (November 2009)Quentin Bourgeois; Luc Amkreutz; Raphaël Panhuysen: The Niersen Beaker burial: A renewed study of a century-old excavation
4 A Re-evaluation of the grave and the burial mound

4.1 The burial mound

The barrow was 18 m in diameter and approximately 1.65 m high.[3] The eastern part of the barrow had been partly excavated, but this damage seems rather restricted. The mound itself was built of red-yellow loamy sand intermixed with some charcoal. Since Holwerda specifically noted the rather loamy nature of the barrow, this would indicate that it was probably loamier than other barrows. This may partially explain why these skeletons were preserved at all. Apparently the conditions below some barrows on the ice-pushed ridge of the Veluwe were relatively favourable for the preservation of skeletal remains and remains of inhumations were discovered underneath several barrows.[4] However, only one of these (Speulde) was lifted and preserved for future generations. The others were exposed and drawn in the field and thus decomposed rapidly.

It is unclear whether or not the barrow was erected in one single period. No mention is made of multiple layers and Holwerda describes the barrow as one homogenous unit. We therefore suppose that the barrow was erected in one single event. The description of the profiles of barrows G5 and D4 (Holwerda 1908, 7-8 and 11 respectively) indicates that if distinct multiple mound-periods were present, he may have observed them, although maybe not recognized them as such.

Holwerda implicitly assumed that the present day surface outside the barrow was also the level of the old surface underneath the barrow. He therefore situates the old surface at 1.65 m below the top. However, features which would normally become visible under the barrow indicate that the old surface was about 15 cm higher. At that level the first traces of a palisaded ditch were discovered and an oval discolouration indicated the presence of the primary grave.

The cobble floor mentioned by Holwerda probably originated due to cryogenic sorting of the sediment and is not an anthropogenic feature. Several old and new barrow excavations in the region show a similar feature (cf. Holwerda 1910, 5-7; Fontijn in prep.; Arnoldussen et al. 2008, 181).