Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries 1-2 (November 2009)Maaike Groot: Searching for patterns among special animal deposits in the Dutch river area during the Roman period
7 Recognising patterns

7.1 Deposits in wells

Wells sometimes contain striking bone deposits. We would not expect deposits of animal remains to be made during the use of a well, as this would contaminate the water, but when a well was no longer in use it was a convenient place to dump rubbish. This makes the interpretation of animal deposits in the fills of wells difficult. Special finds of other materials demonstrate that deliberate deposits also occurred in wells. The special animal deposits in wells should be seen as one aspect of this tradition. In some cases, special animal deposits are found in an otherwise findless fill, suggesting that the well was not systematically used as a rubbish bin, but only on a special occasion.