Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Terp Excavation in the Netherlands

  • Johan A. W. NicolayEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_2006


Before the first sea dykes were constructed in the twelfth or thirteenth century CE, the coastal area of the Northern Netherlands was dominated by extensive salt-marsh. Habitation in this unstable maritime landscape was concentrated on relatively high ridges, often along tidal gullies. Because such ridges were still subject to flooding several times a year, people had constructed artificial dwelling mounds or terps (in Dutch: terpen or wierden) from the first colonization of the salt-marsh area in seventh century BCE. They started with one or more small house platforms, which were gradually raised and extended with layers of sods, dung, and trash. The present-day terps, often still clearly visible in the flat landscape, represent the final phase of their development. Although being constructed for a different reason and in a different landscape, terps can be compared to tellsin the Eastern Mediterranean, also comprising many overlapping habitation layers that may cover a...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands