The three Bronze Age footpaths XVI(Bou), XVII(Bou) and XVIII(Bou) in the raised bog of Southeast Drenthe (the Netherlands)
In the raised bog of Southeast Drenthe, a part of the Bourtanger Moor, 6 prehistoric wooden trackways have been found, of which three footpaths can be dated to the Middle Bronze Age. XVI(Bou) near Emmercompascuum is a plank footpath of oak, dated to 1160 ± 35 B.C.; XVII(Bou), the southern plank footpath near Bargeroosterveld, also made of oak, is dated to 1170 ± 50 B.C. and 1195 ± 55 B.C.; XVIII(Bou) near Klazienaveen-North is made of roundwood of pine, and is dated to 1120 ± 50 B.C. The footpaths are built on an ombrogenous peat-bog surface with different types of hummock-hollow systems. On a plank of XVII(Bou) an iron punch has been found, indicating the use of iron in Southeast Drenthe as early as in the Middle Bronze Age. It is very probable that XVII(Bou) and XVIII (Bou) were used for the transport of bog iron-ore, present in the ombrogenous peat-bog at a distance of about 3 km from the bog margin, to MBA settlements on the higher sandy soils. Traces of habitation found in this area provide supporting evidencefor the early production of iron in Southeast Drenthe. The dendrochronological dating of XVII(Bou) to 1372 B.C. indicates that the conventional C14 dates of the MBA are about 200 years too young.