The LBK revisited

The LBK revisited: ‘forgotten’ research into the bandkeramik occupation of the Low Countries

Ivo van Wijk (Archol), Luc Amkreutz (National Museum of Antiquities) & Piet van de Velde (Faculty of Archaeology)


Archaeological investigations of the Linearbandkeramik culture in the Netherlands are based on a long tradition of research. From 1925 onwards amateur and professional archaeologists have expanded our knowledge of these early farmers, both by field surveys and small or large-scale excavations in the Netherlands and abroad. Leiden University and in particular the research conducted by prof. dr. P.J.R. Modderman have been leading in LBK studies since 1967. The large-scale excavations in Limburg of the bandkeramik settlements of Elsloo, Geleen, Sittard and Stein formed an important basis for this. It is, however, remarkable that, Modderman’s research excluded, publication of research results has been limited. In general only the highlights of the early years of regional LBK-research have been published. These have been important in defining research perspective, but current investigations are in need of a more detailed picture. Because of this it is important to ‘dust-off’ these ‘forgotten’ results, analyse them and make them accessible.


The NWO-Odyssey project involves the analysis and publication of thirteen (rescue-) excavations, executed by Leiden University, the National Museum of Antiquities and amateur archaeologists, both before (1926-1949) and after (1970-2000) the large-scale excavations by Modderman. These investigations have the following project-names: Beek-Molensteeg, Berg aan de Maas-Pastoor Eijckstraat, Catsop-Spoorlijn, Echt-Annendaal, Geleen-Bergstraat, Geleen-Centraal Laboratorium, Geleen-Seipgensstraat, Geleen-Urmonderbaan, Maastricht-Belvedère, Maastricht-Caberg, Maastricht-Klinkers en Stein-Haven. They form a selection of an, unfortunately, larger set of investigations that have not been published, or only to a limited extent. The main scientific contribution of this project lies in the combination of the unpublished research results with the published excavation data.


Next to the dissemination and publication of the various research results, transference of knowledge is also of crucial importance. The project in itself forms a unique convergence of archaeologists from different  settings, academia (Leiden Faculty of Archaeology), heritage service (State Service for Cultural Heritage), commercial archaeology ( ArchoL; individual specialists), municipalities (Municipality of Maastricht) and museums (National Museum of Antiquities).


The fundamental importance of the project is demonstrated by the combination of the ‘old-timers’, amateur and professional archaeologists involved to some extent in several of the abovementioned projects and new researchers involved in the current debate. Publication of the results and transference of knowledge, in combination with a small-scale exhibition and a website form the central theme of the project. Both the website, aimed at collecting LBK publications and making them digitally accessible, and the RMO exhibition intend to reach a bigger audience and create more communal awareness.



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Hidden Treasures of Dutch Bandkeramic Research