The Early Iron Age cemeteries of Oss-Paalgraven and –Vorstengraf ‘transformed’ into archeological monuments
Scientific research, heritage management and public outreach intertwined.
Between 1997 and 2007 the Faculty of Archaeology carried out excavations at Oss-Vorstengraf and -Paalgraven (Zevenbergen). At both cemeteries burial mounds from the Bronze and Iron Age including three extraordinary Hallstatt C-elite burials were found.
Triggered by the outcomes of the excavations the municipality of Oss initiated a project to preserve the mounds (which were not excavated completely) and present the unique scientific data to the public. The project is implemented in close collaboration with several researchers of the Faculty of Archaeology (Richard Jansen (also municipal archeologist of Oss), David Fontijn, Sasja van der Vaart-Verschoof and Harry Fokkens. Also the Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed and the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (Dutch National Museum of Antiquities) participated.
Thursday May 22 2014 the monuments were (re)opened. At the Oss-Paalgraven cemetery the Early Iron Age period is brought to life including the heath landscape in which the mounds once were erected. A pedestrian bridge, specially designed by artists, functions literally as a ‘prosthesis’ in the landscape and ensures that visitors can reach the cemetery which is hidden between several highways.
A watchtower connects both cemeteries visually. At a height of 10 m it becomes clear that the cemeteries of Paalgraven and Vorstengraf are situated close together, at a very distinctive place in the landscape, something that is not visible at the ground.
Since 2003 the Oss-Vorstengraf cemetery houses a monument, designed by a landscape architect. Because of its 11th anniversary the results of recent research of the Vorstengraf are displayed at a new information panel including a new artist impression of the Vorst van Oss. Initiated by the municipality of Oss, archaeologists Sasja van der Vaart-Verschoof and Simone Lemmers and artist Raf Timmermans worked closely together to give this famous person from Dutch prehistory a new appearance.
The research project Oss-Paalgraven and -Vorstengraf is hereby successfully closed. The different excavations resulted in unique scientific results, the preservation of the remaining parts of the mound for future research and the opening of two iconic archaeological monuments, representing the scientific and social importance of this research executed by the Faculty of Archaeology of Leiden University.