Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries 3-1 (November 2011)Wietske Prummel; Hülya Halici; Annemieke Verbaas: The bone and antler tools from the Wijnaldum-Tjitsma terp 1


As many as 263 bone and antler tools and pieces of production waste were found during the 1991-93 excavations in the Wijnaldum-Tjitsma terp (province of Friesland, the Netherlands). They date to Roman, Migration, Merovingian, Carolingian and Ottonian times (AD 175 and AD 900-950), with a hiatus between the Roman and the Migration period (AD 350-425). The sample of bone and antler tools and production waste is fairly large due to using extensive wet-sieving. Fibre and skin processing tools and personal utensils, such as combs, are the most common tools. Personal utensils, bone skates and sledge runners were introduced at the terp during the Migration period.

A tuning pin, a flute, a box, two spoons, decorative plates, handles and checkers are very rare finds in terpen in the north of the Netherlands. They are considered as indicators for elite inhabitants at the terp during Merovingian and Carolingian times. Other indicators of high status are contemporary finds of metal and glass objects. A comparison with the bone and antler tools from contemporary terpen underlines the rich character of the bone and antler tools from the Wijnaldum-Tjitsma terp. A Roman period sieve made out of a cattle scapula is a unique find and suggests that elite people already lived at the site in that period. The volume of bone and antler production waste is rather low, suggesting that bone and antler processing was not an extensive activity at the site and that most tools were perhaps imported.