Just outside Drouwen two hunebeds lie very close to each other and for that reason they are sometimes called the “Twins of Drouwen”. They were thoroughly excavated by the archaeologists Holwerda and Van Giffen. Both hunebeds were extensively restored in September 1998, when the fragments of 2 split lintels were cemented together and replaced on supporting uprights. At the same time all the remaining pieces of the lintels, uprights and ringstones were thickly smeared with cement.
They are medium-sized hunebeds. D19 originally had 8 lintels but the most westerly is missing. Only fragments of two others remain and they lie on the floor of the tomb. The other 5 lie (once again) neatly on top of their uprights. The four portal uprights are complete. In September 1998 the large boulder which had for a long time lain next to the entrance was lifted up into place as a lintel. This was torn down by vandals in February 2006, since when the authorities have decided to leave the stone where it lay next to the portal, as shown in the photo.
Hunebed D19 revealed some spectacular finds: the remains of at least 400 pots, 13 flint axes, 9 amber beads and 6 pieces of copper. And also pieces of human bones (which, as with the pieces of copper, are extremely rare in Dutch hunebeds!) as well as traces of teeth.
D20 still has 5 of the original 6 uprights, although until September 1998 only one stood on its uprights. 3 have now been more or less put back in place. There are also 4 portal stones (and one portal lintel), but what is remarkable is that an almost complete set of ringstones has survived – 21 stones (the locations of the six missing stones were marked by Van Giffen).
Visit of the archaeologist Van Giffen
Van Giffen found it difficult to identify the correct locations of the stones in these two hunebeds. This was because previous visitors (among whom were Lukis, Dryden, Pleyte and Holwerda) had expressed conflicting opinions about them. He concluded that the hunebed was in such a “very disordered condition”, that it was impossible to determine the original state with any certainty. He simply stated, without elaborating further, that there were 4 portal uprights and possibly portal lintels present, plus at least 10 ringstones virtually in the right place.
(Source: Atlas bij “De Hunebedden in Nederland”, dr.A.E.van Giffen, 1925)
Text Hans Meijer and Harrie Wolters
Translation Alun Harvey