|29 April 1999
Double Iron Age burial
East of the village of Lent, north of the city of Nijmegen (the Netherlands), a remarkable Iron Age burial was discovered. Two persons had been buried on top of each other. The lower one, a male, lay on his back. The upper one, whose gender could up to now not be established, was placed face down and transverse on the lower. Archaeologist P.W. van den Broeke discovered this remarkable grave last summer when he was excavating a small Iron Age burialground. C-14 dating has pinpointed the burial in the fifth century BCE.
The Iron Age burialground of Lent, belonging to a farming community, contains some twenty cremations and five inhumations. Why few people were inhumated while in the same the others were cremated remains unclear.
On the upper burial was a person, a grown-up, wich was laying face down with one hand in the neck. The man in the lower grave, 1,71 metres long, was about forty years old when he died. Left and right and just below his acoustic ducts a bronze ring was stuck horizontally to his skull. According to Van den Broeke these rings must have hold the plaits of the man.
What then could be the relationship between the two? Van den Broeke says: The upper grave and the other inhumations in this burialground were laid down on the same depth. I think that these people knew there two bodies going to be buried here. They dug the first gravepit extra deep, laid the man down, filled the deep pit and buried the second body over it, transverse. And the hand in the neck of the upper person, a gesture of selfprotection?
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