The two Iron Age wooden trackways XIV(Bou) and XV(Bou) in the raised bog of Southeast Drenthe (the Netherlands)


  • W.A. Casparie


In the raised bog of Southeast Drenthe, a part of the Bourtanger Moor, six prehistoric wooden trackways have been found, of which two can be dated to the Iron Age. The trackways were built on an ombrogenous peat-bog surface with different types of hummock-hollow systems. XV(Bou), the northern plank footpath near Bargeroosterveld, made of oak, is dated to 530±40 BC. It probably crossed the entire raised bog (c. 12 km), and shortly after its construction it was intentionally destroyed. It is supposed that after a bog burst, dated to c. 500 BC, the peat-bog surface was too dangerous to pass across. XIV(Bou), the hurdle trackway near Emmerschans, dated to 170±50 BC, is constructed of wattlework of willow on a substructure of roundwood of different wood species. The hurdles were made in exactly the same way as modern hurdles.The track was probably used for the transport of bog iron-ore, present in the peat at a distance of about 3 km from the bog margin, to Iron Age dwelling places on the high or sandy soils. This area was intensively occupied in the Iron Age, as is also demonstrated by the large Celtic Field complexes.