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This paper presents a geoarcheological study on potential canal subsections present in the Roman-age Vecht branch of the Rhine-Meuse delta (the Netherlands).The first Roman canals in this delta were dug around 12 BC by Drusus, but their location has been the subject of debate since the 16th century, with various hypotheses proposed. Based on actual palaeogeographical knowledge of the Rhine-Meuse delta, the Utrechtse Vecht hypothesis is considered the most plausible. Within the study area, in the northern part of the Vecht system, natural sections of this river may alternate with possible artificial reaches, created at the time of Drusus.
Such artificial canals, being part of an otherwise natural channel belt system, can widen and deepen overtime, eroding all or most of the recognizable features associated with their original construction. As study area was chosen a relatively straight section of the Vecht between two former lakes. Two approaches were used. The first approach centred upon mapping channel morphology and recording sediment stratigraphy of the river deposits through detailed auger coring. Results corroborated the hypothesis of an originally straight feature (landform), confirming that it might have started life as a dug course, but not providing preserved archaeological remains of this stage. The second approach was chronological, whereby a programme of 14C dating was undertaken to refine the understanding of the origin and development of this reach of the Vecht, allowing earlier chronological investigations to be further contextualised and reassessed. A significant challenge to understand age control and floodplain evolution is the degradation of the top of the clayey peat that was observed below the levee deposits; this degradation is due to the lowering of groundwater levels and causes the end of peat growth to be dated as older than it actually is.
Using new radiocarbon dates we have reconstructed that the Overmeer-Nigtevecht reach of the Vecht between two former lakes started life as a straight channel. We have constrained its age to be closer to the time of Drusus’ activities (early Roman age). Although we have not found in situ remains of Drusus canal(s), these two new insights make the Vecht option, effectuated by a series of short canals, more likely to be the Drusus canal(s).
When talking about decisionmaking for children with a life-threatening condition, the death of children with brain tumors deserves special attention. The last days of the lives of these children can be particularly harsh for bystanders, and raise questions about the suffering of these children themselves. In the Netherlands, these children are part of the group for whom a wide range of end-of-life decisions are discussed, and questions raised. What does the end-of-life for these children look like, and what motivates physicians and parents to make decisions that may affect the life and death of these children? This article highlights the story of the parents of the sisters Roos and Noor. When both their daughters were diagnosed with a hereditary brain tumor, they had to make similar decisions twice. Their story sheds light on the suffering of children in the terminal phase, and how this suffering may motivate parents and physicians to make decisions that influence the end of life of these children’s lives.
We argue that complete knowledge about suffering in the terminal phase of children with brain tumors is impossible. However, by collecting experiences like those of Roos and Noor, we can move toward an experienced-based understanding and better guide parents and physicians through these hardest of decisions.