D16 is one of the larger hunebeds. It stands a few hundred metres to the north of the beautiful Kampsheide nature reserve, a small area which is of great archaeological importance because of the large number of tumuli. To the west, the area borders the protected river landscape of the Drentse Aa.
The hunebed can be reached by a sandy path (muddy in wet weather), either from the direction of Balloo or from Loon. It is more or less complete and has a portal with two uptihgts and one lintel, as well as two ringstones. At the time of the inventory in 1918 the hunebed was somewhat less complete: all 9 lintels seem to have fallen from the 19 uprights. They were put back in place in 1978 but later two fell off again, one partly and the other completely. In December 1999 they were both restored again and fixed in place with steel bolts. Even then one lintel was not fixed securely on its uprights and was displaced by force at the end of June 2000. It was put back in place yet again in December 2000, although rather inaccurately. Large splinters are missing from both the lintel and the two uprights. It is to be hoped that the monument will now be left in peace.
On the 6th lintel of D16 circular hollows can clearly be seen. In 1987 the Danish archaeologist Petersen identified these as ‘cupmarks’. More of these mysterious markings can be found on hunebed stones in Schleswig Holstein and in Denmark, of which the famous “Schalenstein” at Bunsoh in Holstein is a fine example. A similar stone can be found at Restrup near Osnabrück, called the “Näpfchenstein”. This is not part of a hunebed and when and why it was created is unknown.
Location of D16 Balloo
Visit of Professor van Giffen in 1918
It is almost impossible to compare the hunebed as it was then with its present state. Now it is an almost complete passage grave with a fine entrance. In 1925 Van Giffen wrote: “The hunebed has sunk into a pitiful state, such that the original condition can hardly be imagined”. With all respect to the great expert, that did not prevent him from carrying out a full restoration in 1954 to create its present condition. Although we should perhaps ask if we should be satisfied with a restoration (even a partial one) based on guesswork. We shall encounter a similar example at D52 in Diever.
(Source: Atlas of “De Hunebedden in Nederland”, dr.A.E.van Giffen)
Text Hans Meijer
Translation Alun Harvey
Photos Hans Meijer and Davado