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Lukis en Dryden
Lukis and Dryden are two Brithish researches who travelled to Drenthe for three weeks in 1878 to study and chart the dolmens there. They did so at the request of the Society of Antiquaries in London, which was very worried about the way the preservation and protection of this unique prehistoric heritage was being handled.
Around 1870, most of the dolmens in Drenthe had become property of the national and provincial governments. The local authorities decided to restore the dolmens, but did so without first conducting archaeological research. During these restorations, the sods covering the dolmens, the mounds, were removed. Megaliths that had fallen over were placed upright again without any idea of what they were doing or documentation. Items that were discovered during the restoration work were hardly studied, if at all.
Shocked by these barbaric restoration practices, the English Society of Antiquaries decided to send two researchers to Drenthe. William Collings Lukis and sir Henry Dryden arrive in Drenthe on 1 July 1878. Lukis was a landed gentleman with a passion for weaponry, churches, monasteries, and megaliths. Dryden was an Anglican priest who studied megaliths during his summer holidays. Both men were highly experienced when it came to documenting megaliths.
In just thirteen working days, an impressive forty dolmens were painstakingly measured by Dryden, while Lukis created descriptions and maps and perspectives with a camera lucida. Tireless in the face of all that drawing, they spent their free Sunday drawing ceramics from the Drents Museum and the old churches in Anloo and Vries. On their way home, they briefly stopped in Leiden. There they documented a number of finds from the National Museum of Antiquities.
To this day, the maps, drawings, and descriptions Lukis and Dryden made of the dolmens serve as an important source of information regarding their conditions at the end of the 19th century. By Dutch standards, their precise way of documentation was unheard of. The drawings of the Dolmens in Drenthe are now in London (Society of Antiquaries), Oxford (Ashmolean Museum), and in the Drents Museum in Assen.