More than 5000 years ago the architect of D45 took extra care over the location and the size of this hunebed. The tomb was placed on top of a mound, and the original pile of earth covering it would have made it look like a small mountain! D45 still has six of its original nine lintels. Three of these still rest more or less on the upright stones, the other three have slipped halfway off their supports. The lintel to the far right is the widest and flattest stone to be found on any of the remaining hunebeds. When choosing the position and the number (3) of the uprights beneath it, the prehistoric builders obviously matched them carefully to the size of this lintel. D45 also has 19 sidestones and two keystones. The hunebed is surrounded by 13 ring stones; the positions of the 25 which are missing were marked by Van Giffen. In addition, there are also two portal stones.
The hunebed lies close to Emmen town centre in the Emmerdennen, near the main road. The wood is closed to motorised traffic but there is a parking area on the Boermarkeweg, not far from the hunebed. But even from the main station it is only a 10 minute walk.
Visit of King Louis Napoleon Bonaparte
The photo above shows how the scene might have appeared in 1809 when – according to tradition – King Louis Napoleon Bonaparte sprang onto the large flat lintel of D45, horse and all. During a visit to the province in that year the king made a “hunebed tour” at the invitation of Petrus Hofstede, the Landdrost (‘governor’) of Drenthe. He hoped this would persuade the popular prince to become a fellow advocate for the preservation of Drenthe monuments. And his plan worked!
On 4th July 2011 the large flat stone was cracked by a fire which caused part of it to collapse into the tomb below. The damage was repaired by early December 2011.
In 1918 Professor van Giffen visited the hunebed. He commented:
“The hunebed lies in such a very poor state that the original condition can hardly be recognised with any certainty”. A somewhat unfair judgement, as he found 6 lintels, 2 keystones, 9 side stones, 2 portal stones and at least 12 ring stones, many of which stood in their original place. It is true that 6 (of the 9) lintels had slipped, moved or even split. The 4 lintels showed boreholes for dynamite which appeared to be attempts at malicious destruction. Only the 6th and largest flat lintel was still supported by its 4 uprights. Even Van Giffen recorded the stunt of Louis Napoleon and his horse. D45 is owned by the Province of Drenthe.
(Source: Atlas of “De Hunebedden in Nederland”, dr.A.E.van Giffen)
Text Hans Meijer
Translation Alun Harvey
Photos Hans Meijer and Davado