Tracks in the Landscape

The Secret of Gelderland’s Ancestral Mounds

28.01 to 21.04.2014

Archaeological finds tell us extraordinary stories from a distant past. The ancestral mounds on the Veluwe are ancient archaeological monuments that are still visible in the landscape today. But that is not all. The finds discovered here give us an insight into the lives, customs and rituals of the prehistoric people who lived on the Veluwe. For instance, the pots containing food, which were found in the ancestral mounds, are proof that people believed in life after death at the time. CODA brings these extraordinary stories from the past together in the exhibition.

The Veluwe is the region with the most ancestral mounds in the Netherlands. With about 150 ancestral mounds, Apeldoorn, together with the councils of Ermelo and Epe, belongs to the top 3. Although most people may not be aware of the Veluwe’s archaeological richness, archaeologists consider the region to be a treasure chamber when it comes ancestral mounds.

Thanks to a collaboration between CODA, the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden and Apeldoorn’s municipal archaeologist, this treasure chamber will be opened for a broader audience.

Visitors in the exhibition Tracks in the Landscape
Visitors in the exhibition Tracks in the Landscape
Ancestral mounds near de Echoput (Photograph: Mikko Kriek)

Burial mounds
The exhibition tells the story of thirteen special burial mound locations on the Veluwe; from the first scientific excavation in the Vanenbosch near Hoog Soeren, the oldest grave finds near the Uddelermeer, the warrior’s grave near Bergsham in Barneveld and the golden burial gift near Ede/Renkum to the largest urn field on the Groevenbeek moors near Ermelo.

The exceptionally well-preserved double grave from a burial mound near Niersen is the most spectacular find displayed at this exhibition.

Ancestral mounds teach us about the rituals of people who lived on the Veluwe thousands of years ago and buried their dead in carefully selected places. The exhibition illustrates this by showing examples from various periods.

Grave finds, Barneveld

Why was the body arranged a certain way in the grave? What conclusions can we draw from the objects (burial gifts) given to the deceased? Why were multiple people buried in the same mound in the Middle Bronze Age? From what time were people cremated instead of buried?

It is striking that many ancestral mounds between Epe and Vaassen lie on a miles-long line. What does this signify? And does the same apply to other places on the Veluwe?

Excavations at Uddelermeer

The first professional burial mound excavation in the Netherlands was carried out in Apeldoorn in 1906. Jan Hendrik Holwerda (1873-1951) dug up a burial mound near Hoog Soeren at the request of Queen Wilhelmina.

Since 2006, new research on ancestral mounds is being conducted in Apeldoorn and on the Veluwe by the University of Leiden, the Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, and the city of Apeldoorn. It was this new research project, Ancestral Mounds, that gave rise to the Tracks in the Landscape exhibition in CODA Museum. Needless to say, it will be given ample attention in the exhibition.

Visitors in the exhibition Tracks in the Landscape
Visitors in the exhibition Tracks in the Landscape


On Saturday 1 March, the city of Apeldoorn’s Archaeology Department will organise a symposium in association with CODA. This symposium, which will take place in the afternoon, will be of interest to inhabitants and visitors of the Veluwe, as well as to scientists.

Cycle route
CODA will plot a cycle route along the burial mounds in Apeldoorn, Hoog Soeren, the Echoput, and on the Wieselseweg. This cycle route will be made available at

Lectures for children
While the exhibition is staged in CODA Museum, the city of Apeldoorn’s Archaeology Department will organise several lectures for children, in association with CODA. These lectures will be held on Wednesdays for various age groups (4-8, 8-12, 12-16).

The recent research carried out by the University of Leiden has already resulted in several publications. The research on the Echoput is described in a book with more appeal to the general public: Echo’s uit de IJzertijd: een grafheuveltweeling bij Apeldoorn, Evert van Ginkel, € 12,50, ISBN 9789088902185.

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