Agriculture and sand drifts, a dynamic landscape…
In the area to the west and south of the Wekeromse Zand several patches of celtic fields can be found. In general, the patches are situated on ice pushed ridges or on the gradient to a lower lying area. Both cover sand layers with and without a podzolic top soil layer can be found on the surface. The Wekeromse Zand itself is nowadays a good reminder of windswept areas looking not unlike the aeolian sand deposits from the Weichsel ice age.
The landscape between Lunteren and Wekerom has been a mixture of agricultural fields, heathland, waste land and sanddrifts from the Early Middle Ages onward. With scattered farmsteads and small settlements of which some turned into the places we still know today. Intensification of sheepherding and sod manuring in the 15th and 16th century has been responsible for the expansion of heath and drift sand areas. Some of these areas are reclaimed as agricultural land or for urban developments. The Wekeromse Zand has been preserved as a sand drift area surrounded by woodlands out of ecological interests.
Archaeological finds dating from the Late Mesolithic up until the Late Middle Ages are known from the wider area of the Celtic fields. Fragmented tools made of flint and pottery shards, partly from grave context, represent the early periods. From the Bronze and Iron Age pottery was found and Celtic fields walls are mentioned as locations for these fragments, besides graves and an urnfield as being find locations. No specific finds from the Roman period have been reported although in the wider area habitation nuclei are well known. Population levels have increased and decreased prior to the Middle Ages, however the iron ore industry has led to an increased prosperity in the Early Middle Ages. Excavated houseplans from the Middle Ages, in Ede and Bennekom, tell of small settlements with outbuildings that over the centuries have found a permanent location in the landscape, eventually turning into brickstone farmsteads.
The first archaeological excavation took place in 1939-41 and revealed several houseplans and outbuildings among the walls and fields. Whether these houses stood on remants of the walls or if the walls were constructed on former house locations has never been made clear. Pottery found in this area, known as the Vijfsprong, has been dated to Early, Middle and Late Iron Age. The Celtic fields structure and lay-out has been interpreted by Brongers in 1976 by using aerial photography. A more recent excavation took place in 2011 by the Groninger Institute for Archaeology, in two fields to the west of the Wekeromse Zand. Flint, charcoal, pottery and botanical remains are the main sources of information, next to soil layers, to reconstruct the history of a part of the extensive fceltic ields at Lunteren-Wekerom.
Arnoldussen, S. and Scheele, E.E. 2014. De Celtic fields van Wekerom: kleinschalige opgravingen van wallen en velden van een laat-prehistorisch raatakkersysteem. Grondsporen 18. Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
Keunen, L.J., van Meijel, L.M.P., Neefjes, J., Willemse, N.W., Bouma, T., van der Veen, S. and Wijnen, J.A. 2013. Cultuurhistorische Waardenkaart Ede. Een interdisciplinaire studie naar het aardkundig, archeologisch, historisch-geografisch, historisch-bouwkundig en -stedenbouwkundig erfgoed in de gemeente Ede. RAAP-RAPPORT 2500.