Project Peelo: het onderzoek in de jaren 1977, 1978 en 1979 op de es


  • P.B. Kooi


This paper is the first of three about the excavations carried out in 1977- 1988 near the hamlet of Peelo, municipality of Assen, in the northern part of the province of Drenthe (fig. 1). In this article the excavations of 1977, 1978 and 1979 in the field area (es) west of Peelo are published (fig. 3). The most important aims of the project were to investigate the development of a settlement in time and the construction of house plans, and to compare these with other earlier excavated settlements.

Result. The oldest traces found belong to the Single Grave culture: a ring ditch (fig. 5: square Y/6) with a north-south orientated findless grave pit and a second grave pit which has an east-west orientation, partly disturbed by a later fence (fig. 5: square Y/10), containing a Protruding Foot beaker (fig. 6), dating from a period between 2600-2450 BC (Drenth & Lanting, 1991).

Settlement traces. The oldest settlement traces date from about 400 BC with house plans of Hijken type (figs 7-8). Some fragments of house plans may date from the Late Iron Age (fig. 9). Between c. 100 BC and 200 AD two farmyards surrounded by fences are concentrated in the highest part of the excavated area, with houseplans of Noord Barge and Wijster A type (figs 10-11). The period 200-300 AD is characterized by house plans of Peelo A type (figs. 7 and 12-13) while the settlement is shifting to the lower, western part of the area. The number of farms increases to three. During the late Roman era the settlement as a whole is located in the lower western part of the excavation, with house plans of Wijster B and Peelo B types (figs 14-17). During this stage a smithy (fig. 21) is present in the northeastern part, with a number of ovens to prepare iron (fig. 69). From the later periods in this area, only a fragment of the 8th century was excavated with a Odoorn C house plan. During the different settlement phases several sheds, huts and granaries were built. In the Iron Age we find several small granaries next to the houses and in the field (fig. 56: Nos 111-137). From the beginning of the era on, a more complex set of bigger granaries, sunken huts and wells came into use (figs 21 67). The majority of the finds consists of handmade pottery. Pottery from the Iron Age (figs 83-84) and the Roman period (figs 85-93) confirm the development of the settlement. Finds of imported terra sigillata and terra nigra, dating from the 3rd and 4th century, are rare.

Discussion. Comparison of the resuIts of Peelo with earlier excavated settlements leads to some changes in the existing models. First of all the dating of house types has changed; the Fochteloo type should be placed in the first century AD (instead 250-100 BC) and Wijster C can be contemporary with Peelo B and therefore be dated between 400 and 500 AD. In general, the lay-out of the settlement and the farm yards during the late Roman period is less compact than in Wijster and the whole is more rapidly shifting. Maybe this is due to the fact that Peelo was a smaller settlement in a different landscape.