4,000-Year-Old ‘Stonehenge Of The Netherlands’ Discovered
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Dutch archeologists have announced the discovery of an archeological site that was a religious burial ground used as a solar calendar — a discovery that’s been dubbed the “Stonehenge of the Netherlands.”

Researchers announced the find this week after excavating the site between 2017 and 2018. The location, described as a “sanctuary,” includes a burial mound and ditches that allow the sun to shine through on the summer and winter solstices, similar to the famous Stonehenge in the United Kingdom. Roughly a million objects from the site and surrounding areas were excavated — some of which date to the Stone Age.

“What a spectacular archaeological discovery! Archaeologists have found a 4,000-year-old religious sanctuary on an industrial site,” the municipality of Tiel, where the site was discovered, wrote on its Facebook page. “This is the first time a site like this has been discovered in the Netherlands.”

The sanctuary was roughly four soccer fields long and built with wood and soil. There were multiple mounds, cemeteries, wooden posts, and a “ritual” road; the solar calendar was likely located on the largest mound, De Telegraaf, a Dutch newspaper, reported. The solar calendar would have been used to determine harvest days and important events. The site is also believed to have been used for rituals, as “rows of poles stood along pathways used for processions.” The large mound was likely an observation point, and it’s believed all three mounds were used for roughly 800 years.

“A person, for example a priest or priestess, stood on the hill, which was flat on top and on which probably stood a large pole. The priest then viewed the position of the sun from the fixed point of the pole. There were more posts around the hill as markers. They helped the priest determine the exact time of the year,” a spokesman told De Telegraf.

“On certain days the sun shone straight through those passages on the hill. Just like in Stonehenge, where the sun shines through the stones on important days,” the spokesman added.


The outlet notes that in the openings on the mount, where the sun shines through, archeologists discovered human skulls, animal remains, a spearhead, and other valuable items. Several graves at the site were also discovered, including one with a woman buried with the oldest bead ever found in the country. Researchers revealed the glass bead had come from Mesopotamia, in modern-day Iraq, indicating the people had contact with groups over 3,000 miles away, Reuters notes.

“Glass was not made here, so the bead must have been a spectacular item, as for people then it was an unknown material,” Stijn Arnoldussen, a professor at the University of Groningen, told The Guardian.

It took researchers six years to analyze all the artifacts discovered at the historic site. While some items date from the Stone Age, others hail from the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman Empire, and Middle Ages, according to Reuters. Many of these items are expected to go on display for the public to see.


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