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Typical for the sandy landscape of Drenthe are the many burial mounds. These slopes in the landscape of between 5 and 25 metres in width and up to 2.5 metres in height stem from the late Stone Age, early Bronze Age, and Iron Age. The were made by heaping sand and sods to cover the grave of one or more people. The moss and grass-covered hills can often be found in clusters; a grave field. Over the centuries many grave fields were lost, for instance because of land cultivation.
Depending on the period, a burial mound covered the ashes of a funeral pyre, a buried coffin, or an urn containing ashes. Originally, many burial mounds were surrounded by one or more ringed ponds, a ring of poles, stones, or a circular wall. Some mounds were only used once for burial, others were regularly reused. A burial mound can contain one or multiple burials.
The dead could be accompanied by grave goods in their grave. They were probably given these for the afterlife. Men had their weapons and tools with them. Women were accompanied by gold, bronze, or amber jewellery. Both graves also contain ceramic pots that likely contained food. In recent years, more and more clues are being found that the burial mounds did not just serve as final resting places, but that they were important ritual sites in the prehistoric communities.
Large groups of burial mounds can be found on the Dwingelderveld, the Balloërveld, Kampsheide, the Noordse Veld, and in the Strubben-Kniphorstbos. A beautiful cluster can also be found in the Tumilibos forest near Rolde.