Professor Van Giffen numbered the hunebeds from North to South, so the most northerly hunebed in Drenthe is known as D1. It is a fine medium-sized example and lies to the south of Roden, near the small hamlet of Steenbergen. The hunebed lies in an area popular with tourists, standing just 150 metres from a main road in a small area of drift sand and lying up against the slope of a sand dune. It is almost complete, with all 12 uprights and all 6 lintels, as well as the 2 keystones at each end. Even the entrance gateway or portal is complete with 2 uprights and one lintel.
The hunebed was extensively restored by Van Giffen in 1953/54 as it was in a very dilapidated condition. All the lintels had fallen down between the uprights and one of the lintels had broken into 5 pieces. This was repaired with cement and gravel. A number of the uprights had fallen outwards and these were put back in their correct position, after which the lintels were replaced on top of them. The lintel of the portal has had to be replaced several times after being thrown off by visitors.
In March 1997 the hunebed was set on fire and badly damaged. The second lintel was split through the middle and numerous pieces had splintered into fragments. The damage has now been repaired as far as this was possible. The fragments were ‘glued’ back together and since 21 July 1997 the lintel again lies on its uprights. Close to the hunebed is a large car park and there are two information panels.
Professor Van Giffen visits D1 in 1918
What a mess! But Van Giffen counted 23 stones in total – 6 lintels, 12 uprights and 2 keystones, and the portal had 2 uprights and 1 lintel. So the hunebed was in fact almost complete although it was in such a poor state. Everything was in chaos, the third lintel was in two pieces and the fourth was split into three. After an extensive programme of restoration, including gluing broken stones back together, what we now see here is a complete hunebed.
Also worth noting is the desolate landscape of that time. Not a tree in sight as far as the eye can see!
(Source: Atlas of “De Hunebedden in Nederland”, dr.A.E.van Giffen)
D1 on old postcards
Text Hans Meijer
Translation Alun Harvey