University of Groningen / Palaeohistoria
 
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Terug naar Fluitenberg – over een maliënkolder uit de ijzertijd

(2005) Sanden, W.A.B. van der

In 1941 the remains of a chain mail were discovered in a cinerary barrow that once formed part of a
group of around twenty barrows near Fluitenberg (municipality of Hoogeveen). It was not realized at the time that
the remains represented such a remarkable object. When the find was published, in 1992, it was assumed to date
from the Roman period. The 45 iron nails found in the burial pit were at that time interpreted as deriving from a
(small) chest.
Two 14C dates recently obtained for the cremated remains from this burial have however yielded the surprising
results of 2170±35 BP and 2145±45 BP. The latter date was obtained for burned bone with some adhering caked
iron rings of the chain mail. The average of the two dates is 2160±30 BP; calibrated this corresponds to 355-95 BC
(2σ). This makes the find a pre-Roman period chain mail – highly unusual in a northern Dutch context, but indeed
also in a European context, for the number of Iron Age chain mails known in western Europe is extremely small. It
is also suggested that the small nails derive from a shield, of which no further remains were found. An iron eye with
an attached hook bent at right angles may have formed part of the chain mail – for example part of the fastening,
but if so, it was of a very simple design.
The cremated remains that could not be traced in 1992 have now been analysed and have been found to derive
from an adult. The condyle of the lower jaw and the greater sciatic notch suggest a female rather than a male. The
amount of cremated remains is too small (230 grams) to allow a definite sex identification. Among the cremated
remains was also a piece of burned animal bone with a cut groove. The (assumed) Fluitenberg warrior belongs in a
long row of martial occupants of the province of Drenthe. This burial however contained only defensive weapons
and no offensive ones.




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