To find D50 and D51, begin in the Zweeloërstraat in Noordsleen and take the second surfaced road on your right (this is a dead end). You will see D51 to the left of the road and then D50 to the right. D50 is a fine large hunebed with an almost complete set of 24 large ring stones. Some are even larger than the uprights of the tomb itself. Until recently, a large tree stood in the monument itself but sadly this was half dead and so had to be removed. The grave still has seven of its eight lintels which, since its restoration in September 1998, once again rest on sixteen uprights and two keystones. There is also one portal stone. Prof. Van Giffen marked the places of the three missing stones with cement on the ground. For a long time this fine site had no facilities for visitors but there is now a picnic table and an information panel. Sadly, the bronze name plate and its stone have disappeared.
Location of D50
Visit of Professor van Giffen 1918
“In a damaged state” reported Van Giffen, although the original condition was clearly recognisable. There were still seven lintels, all of which had fallen into the chamber, while one (the fifth) was missing. The keystones and uprights were still more or less in place, from which he was able to measure the original length as 17 m and the width as 4.4 m. Remarkably he made special reference to the fine flat surfaces of many stones, but said nothing about the eleven ring stones which stood there. Yet these are the largest to be found at any hunebed in Drenthe. And now there are at least 24 ring stones! Until recently nobody knew where these stones came from, and I mentioned this fact to the Provincial Archaeologist Wijnand van der Sanden. He discovered the answer in the archives: Van Giffen found them under the ground in 1965 and put them back! In 1870 the hunebed was purchased by the State from the village elders of Noord-Sleen. A cross-shaped sign bearing the words Property of the State leaves the visitor in no doubt of this fact. In Van Giffen’s time these signs stood next to all state-owned hunebeds. The oak tree on the left survived until 1998.
(Source: Atlas of “De Hunebedden in Nederland”, dr.A.E.van Giffen, 1925)
For more information about this and other hunebeds in Drenthe see
www.hunebedden.nl and www.hunebeddeninfo.nl
Text Hans Meijer
Translation Alun Harvey
Photography Hans Meijer and Davado