Titia Brongersma lived between approximately 1650 and 1700. She was a so called “Joffer” from the northern Netherlands: an unmarried lady of the upper class who works and undertakes activities by herself and quite unusual for a woman in the 17th century. She was a poet whose work considered subjects as embroidering and arranging flowers, but she also wrote odes to people and romantic poetry – addressed to a woman.

When she visited the bailiff of Borger in Drenthe in 1685, she became familiar with the existence of dolmens in the area. She was intrigued by the phenomenon and decided to have a dolmen excavated. She initiated and financed this project all by herself. It became the first recorded excavation of a dolmen in The Netherlands (recorded by Dr. Ludolph Smids in his book Schatkamer der Nederlandse Oudheden, 1711). Titia was amazed that the dolmens turned out to be graves and not the stoneheaps built by giants that she had held them for. She dedicated a 27 lines poem to the dolmen in her only book De Bron-Swaan, published in 1686.

Post by Marie-France van Oorsouw

Images are in the public domain. 


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