|Visited 3rd August 2011
the Kungagraven is Scandinavia's largest known burial cairn and therefore was a must visit on our trip to Skane.
Having read about the site and seen the pictures in The Megalithic European, I was worried this site might be one of those over-restored tourist trap kind of places, but I needn't have worried. We arrived at 10am, just as the place was opening and had it to ourselves.
The low cairn is huge, probably the largest I've ever seen, but so denuded from hundreds of years of being robbed for building materials. The curved entranceway was put in during the restoration work in the 1930's along with the gated doorway and 'crypt' containing the cist, but even with this modern meddling the sheer scale of the place allows it to retain its grandeur.
Inside the cool darkened chamber the decorated cist slabs seem to glow in the artificial light, the symbology showing sun wheels and burial rites, the style reminiscent of neolithic cave painting, although this tomb was constructed during the Bronze Age. The preponderance of axe heads painted on the slabs reminds me of the carved axe head symbols I've seen in the tombs in Kilmartin valley. The cist slabs were damaged during the 18th century when the quarrying was at its peak, and three of the slabs even disappeared from the site, although fortunately detailed engravings (copies of which hang in the nearby cafe) were made before this happened.
Soon other visitors start to arrive and we move from the small chamber back out to the dazzling sunshine for a wander around the outside of the cairn.
Near to the cairn, where you pay for your entrance tickets, by a murmuring brook, is the picturesque Cafe Sagmollan, where we sat for a very nice cup of coffee and I was able to write up my fieldnotes, Ellen also discovered for sale a great little booklet with information on the Kungagraven in English, and even better after leafing through it we discovered that less than 300 metres south of the cairn was a large gravefield with a number of stone settings! An unexpected megalithic bonus that we could head off to explore.
Overall the Kungagraven has been well worth a visit, reasonably priced at 20kr (about £2 when we went) and not in any way 'in your face' touristy.
Posted by Ravenfeather
31st January 2012ce
Edited 31st January 2012ce