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Leys

54 55 Straight medieval doodwegen, or death roads, are still visible in parts of the Netherlands. They were built for the specific purpose of carrying the dead to burial, and their specification and upkeep were the subject of decrees and periodic inspections. Medieval laws forbade the transportation of corpses on other types of road. This splendid example comes from Westerheide heath between Laren and Hilversum, in north Holland, an area dotted with Bronze Age barrows. Three dead straight doodwegen converge on the isolated St. Janskerhof St. Johns cemetery. The three roads are equally spaced forming a triangle pointing at the chapel of St. John. The present day chapel is only a century old, but it replaced an earlier building said to date from the 1600s or earlier. The death road from the village of sGraveland is believed to have been laid out in 1643. The other two, from the villages of Bussum and Ankerveen, are of uncertain date but are believed to be older. They are not Roman roads as they lie outside the boundaries of the Roman occupation of the Low Countries. Which brings us to the end of this little book of Leys Opposite Three dead straight doodwgen on the barrow studded Westerheide heath aim in on the isolated churchyard of St. Johns chapel. ThrEE duTCh dEaTh rOadS Hilversum, Netherlands 55
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