D18 looks neat and complete. But that does not give the whole picture. Steel pins hold two of its seven lintels in place. The 14 uprights and 2 keystones are indeed complete, as are the 2 portal stones although these are not immediately visible as they are almost completely covered with sand.

D18 Photo Davado

This monument is undoubtedly the most immortalised of all hunebeds, both in paintings and photographs. The picturesque and characteristic oak which enhanced the scene until 1984 certainly had a lot to do with that. Indeed it stood so close to the hunebed that its growth threatened the existence of the tomb, which is why it sadly had to be removed. Since then the hunebed looks a little bare.

Location of D18

D17 and D18 stand behind the large Jacobus church in the centre of Rolde.

D18 Rolde Map by Hans Meijer

Giant Stones in the Field

D17 and D18 are described at length by Provincial archaeologist Wijnand van der Sanden in his book “Giant Stones in the Field – the hunebeds of Rolde”, published in April 2007.

The tombs were built between 3400 and 3200 BC. by farmers of the Funnel Beaker Culture. The book describes the history of the monuments after their time as tombs. How did later generations view them? In the 17th century they were thought to have been built by cruel man-eating giants; in the 19th century the Province and the State began to take more interest in their protection. The book follows these shifting views of their significance. The hunebeds of Rolde were visited by artists, photographers, writers, scholars, politicians and even members of the royal family. They were impressed by what they saw and recorded these impressions in words and pictures. The book covers all this and much more.

Visit of Professor van Giffen to D18 in 1918

Van Giffen reported restorations made before his time, by Gregory among others, and found the hunebed “in a good condition”. That can be seen on the photo. He regretted the levelling of the ground, which may have removed possible remains of a mound and ringstones. He praised the fine oak trees and said that the right-hand one had blown down in 1922. The other was removed in 1984 to the regret of many people.
(Source: Atlas of “De Hunebedden in Nederland”, dr.A.E.van Giffen, 1925)

D18 Rolde (Source: Atlas bij “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
Photos Davado and Hans Meijer

D18 Photo Davado
D18 Photo Davado
Photo Davado

D17 and D18 on old postcards


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