4,000-Year-Old Dutch Stonehenge Reveals Ties to Ancient Mesopotamia
The Netherlands’ archaeological scene buzzes with the revelation of a 4,000-year-old sacred site. The local media has dubbed it the “Stonehenge of the Netherlands” due to its intriguing solar calendar encased in a burial mound.
While not as complex as the original Stonehenge, the site offers important details on the lives of people more than 4,000 years ago.
4,000-Year-Old Dutch Stonehenge
This sacred locale boasts three earthen mounds, several burial plots, wooden posts, and a ceremonial pathway.
The largest mound, spanning 20 meters across, is a silent testament to the lives of approximately 60 men, women, and children. Its unique architecture allows sunlight to illuminate its interior during summer and winter solstices.
The city of Tiel celebrated the discovery on its Facebook page, exclaiming, “A spectacular find! A 4,000-year-old religious sanctuary was discovered on an industrial site. This is a first for the Netherlands!”
Excavation and Solar Calendar Discovery
Archaeologists commenced their investigation of this “open-air sanctuary” in 2017 at Medel, a Tiel industrial area located a few kilometers from the Waal River.
Yet, the findings were announced to the public only on June 21 this week — the solstice.
The site’s primary burial mound served as a solar calendar, guiding ancient residents in marking important dates like festivals and harvest days. Remarkably, it was a burial site for nearly 800 years.
Ties to Ancient Mesopotamia
An exciting addition to the discovery was a glass bead found within a tomb.
Analysis revealed its origin as Mesopotamia, today’s Iraq, providing evidence of a 4,000-year-old connection between the local inhabitants and those almost 5,000 kilometers away.
Stijn Arnoldussen, a professor at the University of Groningen, noted, “Glass was not native here, so this bead must have been a stunning novelty for people, as it was an unknown material then.”
Artifacts of the Dutch Stonehenge
A selection of the unearthed items is available for public viewing at the Flipje Museum in Tiel from June 23 to October 20, 2023. Additionally, a tomb from the Tiel-Medel sanctuary housing several bodies is on display at the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden