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
3 Human remains

3.2 Observations in the laboratory: 1907

Prof A.W. Nieuwenhuis (1864-1953) published his observations in 1907, shortly after the examination of the burial in the laboratory and the analysis of the human remains. In this article, Nieuwenhuis (1907) provides a detailed overview of the bones and discolourations in the soil and how they were cleaned from the soil. He clearly mentions that certain bones and parts of bones were in such an advanced state of decomposition that it was difficult to determine what was bone and what was soil. He divides the bones in two groups. The bones at the left (= southern) side are considered to be more interesting since these represent a fairly complete crouched inhumation. In his view the skull was long headed (dolichocephalic) with a sloping forehead and strongly developed supraorbital ridges. He describes this crouched inhumation in some detail. Some of his interpretations differ from our views, which will be described below. In describing the position of the body in the grave, Nieuwenhuis seems to temporarily forget that he is observing the underside of the burial. He mentions that the body was buried with bent and flexed knees turning its back side to us, which factually should read front side. He identified the posture of the body in the grave as similar to a Hockergrab or crouched burial. Comparing the skeleton in the left part of the burial with the bones in the right part, Nieuwenhuis noticed a difference in robusticity. This lead him to the assumption that the in situ burial was a female and the disarticulated, more robust bones were possibly male.

The second part of the burial was considered to represent disarticulated human remains of one individual consisting of a skull, a mandible, femora, a tibia, a humerus and three long bones probably of the lower arm. Nieuwenhuis assumed that these bones were of one individual because of their similarities and robustness.