Hunebed D21 Bronneger, which lies below the canopy of an impressive, mature beech tree, is the most beautiful of this group of five passage graves, all situated about a kilometre west of the village of Bronneger. It is also the most important on account of the archaeological finds made there by Albert van Giffen during his thorough 1918 excavations.
At that time, the hunebed was missing one of its sidestones but, as the work progressed, the missing orthostat was discovered lying flat on the floor of the grave, a metre below ground level, and re-erected in its rightful position. In total, D21 possesses three very large capstones resting on eight sidestones and two endstones, only the tips of which peek above the surrounding sand.
Discoveries made at the site included some complete Funnelbeaker pots as well as shards of around 600 other items of pottery. The floor of the grave consisted of several layers, between 1.5 and 1.7 metres below the capstones, a height clearly designed to allow those entering the chamber to stand upright inside it, and it was between these layers that the artefacts were discovered.
At D21 the Oak tree is also right next to this very well preserved monument. While sitting there meditating on the place I found myself drifting and thinking about the trees. Of course they wouldn't have been their at the time the monuments were in use but there still seemed to be a great relevance to my modern perspective of the monument. I was thinking about a recent permaculture course I took, and about pioneer species, natural succession and Climax community, when the stable community that is reached and no further succession occurs. This seemed very relevant to me when considering these old stones and the people that put them there, coincidental? Maybe but still a beautiful vision of life beyond words and history.
Here at Bronneger, near Drouwen, you get five all at once in a glorious bucolic setting with fields and woodlands. And though badly trashed, they still have the power to enchant, both individually and as a group.
D21 is a small monument and has all three of its capstones still up and neat little endstones like full stops. It is very reminiscent of D6 at Tynaarlo. Nestling against it is a delightful mature tree. It is no more than 4ms away from its closest neighbour, D22.