Of farms and fields: the Bronze Age and Iron Age settlement and Celtic field at Hijken – Hijkerveld


  • S. Arnoldussen
  • K.M. de Vries


Between 1969 and 1973, excavations were undertaken at Hijken, the Netherlands. An area of 3 hectares within a cultural landscape replete with barrows and Celtic field banks was opened up and yielded Late Neolithic graves, a Bronze Age palisade and several Middle Bronze Age houses. During the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age, the site was still occupied and pits filled with fragmented pots may testify to abandonment rituals. Our analysis allows to diachronically trace changes and continuity in the use-phases of the site – suggesting that the site may have been inhabited from the Middle Bronze Age-B to the Late Iron Age. Remarkably, the eponymous house type (type Hijken) proved to be rather uncommon at Hijken and moreover appears to span the Early to Late Iron Age. Careful study of the interrelations of fence-lines, Celtic field banks and house plans suggests that bank development may have started in the Early Iron Age,but is it plausible that aspects such as Celtic field orientation may have been derived from older (Bronze Age) cultural landscape elements and preceding fence-systems.