Geochemical investigation of the Late Neolithic well of Kolhorn (province of Noord-Holland)


  • B.W. Zuurdeeg
  • Y.M.A. Coenegracht
  • J. van der Wal
  • J.J. Reynders


Some 4000 years ago, people of the Single Grave Culture dug a well c. 2 m deep to water their cattle. The well was sunk into the central part of a 30 m wide levee, which was part of a system of tidal flats. An active tidal salt-water creek was situated at a distance af about 700 m. The local creek adjacent to the levee had fallen dry.

At the time, the levee had a modest fresh-water lens. Evidently the Neolithic people knew about this fresh-water occurrence. Moreover, they had knowledge af how to construct a well, which is demonstrated by the application of charred reed as a filter material. The yield of the well varied from 100 to 300 l/day depending on the season. The water had no saline taste and it was very hard.

The quality af the groundwater extracted was probably not affected by the waste from the settlement.