4.2 Secondary graves
The first feature Holwerda encountered was ‘a big lump of burnt bones’, a cremation grave dug into the top of the barrow (Feature 1). In all likelihood this represents a secondary grave, from a much later date, dug into the already existing barrow. The barrows D1-4 at nearby Dobbe Gelle, described in the same article, show similar types of graves. There the associated pottery and a bronze pair of tweezers suggest a date in the Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age (cf. Jockenhövel 1980, 58). It appears that the cremation remains were not preserved after the excavation, at least no mention of them is made in the inventory lists.
Close to this grave Holwerda found a large patch of charcoal (F2), although it was already partly destroyed. A sherd found close by was dated as ‘Germanic’ i.e. Iron Age. Unfortunately the sherd can now no longer be traced. The patch of charcoal may represent the remnants of a funerary pyre, as has also been seen at barrow D4 (Holwerda 1908, 11), and barrow 3 at Apeldoorn-Wieselse weg (Fontijn in prep.).
Fig. 6 The redrawn excavation plan of the Niersen barrow (after Holwerda 1908, Pl.I.2). The scale is estimated on the dimensions of the surrounding feature and the length of the skeletons drawn by Holwerda. The correct position of the skeletons is depicted here. a: stretches of charcoal; b: estimated destroyed part of the barrow; c: anthropogenic features; d: large stones; e: estimated position of the surrounding feature; f: circumference of the total barrow as given by Holwerda; g: skeletal remains (for the colour codes see