Hunebed D16 Balloo is fairly complete, with nine capstones resting on 19 sidestones. There is also a complete entrance portal comprising two sidestones and a capstone, as well as a few of the original kerbstones. When Albert van Giffen made his inventory of D16 in 1918, the dolmen was in very poor condition, all nine of the capstones having slid down into the grave.
In the 1978 restoration, these were all put back in place but, over the years that followed, first one, then a second fell off again. At the beginning of December 1999, both these capstones were reinstated and secured with steel pins. In late June 2000, another capstone was dislodged from its supporting sidestones, apparently, deliberately by force, and all three of these stones now have large splinters broken from them. The damage was made good later that year.
An interesting feature of D16 Balloo is that capstone No 6 has a set of six cupmarks on its upper surface. D16 is the only Dutch hunebed on which such cupmarks are found.
You can reach the road that takes you to D16 in 10 minutes by taking either Bus 21 or Bus 24 from Assen station to Rolde, and alighting a little before the village of Rolde—at bus-stop Weg naar Balloo (blue marker on map). From here, follow Tumuliboslaan northwards through an avenue of trees for 200 metres and branch left on to a sandy track called Weg voor de Strengen. After 150 metres take the path to the right through Kampsheide, staying on the same track for just over half a kilometre, where you will find the hunebed among scattered trees at the edge of the field to your right (Total walking distance is 1.5 kilometres. Takes 25 minutes).
You can view a short YouTube video about D16 Balloo, which includes a sequence showing the cupmarks.
We'd spotted this on Hans Meijer's hunebedden website (www.hunebedden.com) and despite having no real idea how to get to it, felt we just couldn't miss it. We had only a crappy map, sporadic road signs and sheer determination to get us there. Balloo village straggled out in all directions but we finally picked up a sign and followed it. So you don't have to struggle, here's how to get there:
Go to Balloo and follow the 'hunebed' signs. As you leave the final buildings of the village, stay on the main track where a muddier track forks right. You're on a track through a nature reserve. It says you're not mean to take vehicles down here, but nobody was about so we did anyway. After ¾km a cycle path forks left, but continue on and go right at the next T-junction. Go along this muddy track which meanders from side-to-side, for around another ¾ km. Turn right at the next junction. (We nearly gave up at this point!) Go up to the end of that bit and turn left at that T-junction. You'll probably see the monument 400ms to the left of the junction. With care, we drove it in thick mud in an ordinary family saloon car. You shouldn't need a 4W drive.
This one is well worth the effort. Remotely sited on the edge of nowhere, it has a glorious sense of peace and is in very good shape indeed. It looked lean and slim and had an extraordinary grace to it. This one also has its portal stones and for all you rock art fans, look out for the cup marks!