D52 is a medium-sized hunebed consisiting of six lintels, three of which rest above and between the fourteen uprights. There are also two 2 keystones and one portal stone. A mark on the ground shows the position of the other portal stone. One lintel is missing. At the time of van Giffen’s inventory in 1918 the hunebed was “in a completely collapsed state”. The scattered stones did not even merit the name of a hunebed. Under his leadership the hunebed was completely restored in 1953/54, which involved lifting and re-setting most of the uprights. Today archaeologists believe that Van Giffen went too far in his desire for restoration: for instance he could not identify the function of six of the stones and he did not know how many lintels there had originally been. Still, what we now have is an almost complete hunebed, although it is more the result of guesswork than a reliable restoration.
In November 2008 three 3 lintels were covered with blue paint, but the damage was quickly repaired. At the beginning of April 2011 a fire was lit in the tomb chamber, causing a large split in one of the uprights. This will be repaired as soon as possible. The growing vegetation made the hunebed site more and more a sheltered hangout for youngsters, with all the undesirable problems that can create, so in 2011 the area around the monument was cleared.
The hunebed stands on the Groningerweg in Diever.
Location of D52
Visit of Professor van Giffen in 1918
Van Giffen said: “The hunebed appears in a completely dilapidated condition, so that some of the main features can hardly be recognised; the whole thing is quite simply beyond reconstruction”. Van Giffen thought that 100 years earlier the grave had been intact, and in one of the lintels the large hand of a man had been carved out. In 1918 he counted 22 stones in total but placed question marks against more than half of them regarding their use and position. Looking at the monument today, after Van Giffen’s restoration in 1953, you can decide for yourself if he made the right decisions.
(Source: Atlas of “De Hunebedden in Nederland”, dr.A.E.van Giffen, 1925)
Text Hans Meijer
Translation Alun Harvey
Photography Hans Meijer and Davado