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Møls and Tustrup

4 April 2006
From where we were staying on Fyn, the monuments of north east Jutland, Denmark seemed quite long way for a day trip. Nevertheless we went.

Our first stop was Groenhøj (page 163 of The Megalithic European [TME]) chambered tomb, near Horsens, a perfect pincushion of a monument, not unlike the Great Cairn on Porth Hellick Down, Scilly, but bigger.

It has a continuous ring of handsome kerbstones and a good high grassy mound. Like so many of the monuments in Denmark, the stones are lovely sparkly pink and grey. It has a very narrow corridor which I probably could have wriggled through to reach the chamber but as it was wet underhoof and I was wearing my only clean pair of jeans so I didn't bother. At its 1940 excavation, thousands of pottery sherds were unearthed here, the breaking of which was some kind of ritual associated with the use of the mound.

Today, under blue skies with big fluffy clouds and chaffinches darting around in the trees Groenhøj looked very hygge.

From Groenhøj, we headed up to Møls area (page 160 of TME) on the beautiful Djursland peninsula, just north west of Århus. Its pretty remote up here, but quite gorgeous. The most beautiful part of Denmark I had yet seen. I wanted to see Poskær Stenhus – surely the most picturesque place in TME!

As we arrived the sun came out unbroken and I scampered about the monument like a happy bunny. Moth climbed the Tinghulen to get some height some photos and I , after speaking to a woman tending her horses (who, with the horse she currently tended had once lived in Lambourn) sat and found the view where the light was just right for me to paint.

Poskær Stenhus is essentially the skeleton of a monument exactly like Groenhøj – gorgeous pink kerbstones, bit of a passage, nice chamber complete with capstone, bob's yer uncle. But the setting here is so very fabbie.

Rolling fields and hills, great views, green pasture, heathy bits – oooh! And the nicest thing it's that somehow its all on a human scale. Nothing here is grand or majestic or mighty. It's all rather comfortable and nice. I like that.

It should be noted that at Poskær Stenhus visitors will find excellent toilets, so for once, ladies, you don't need to pee in the open and risk mooning as passers-by. Here's what I managed to sketch before I had to use the facilities:

The woman with the horse advised me and Moth to go up the road to the village of Agri where there was more stuff to see and very good walking. I didn't like to tell her that walking + me = no no, but we had a tootle up there anyway. How glad I was we did! As we drove up the hill I spotted this!

And this, one of the many Stabelhøje dolmens…

And many, many more!

A note about Danish barrows
There are tons and tons and tons of them! Everywhere! They are not the sad, flat remnants of once-mighty burial places we get in the UK. Oh no. Here in Denmark they are everywhere and stand tall and proud and big and round dotted all around the countryside with a gratifying frequency and seem to be a source of national pride. How sad that in the UK modern farming methods and treasure hunters over the years have rendered ours so deflated and scrubby.

Anyway, the landscape of Møls is particularly rich in barrows.

From Agri we headed off through the lanes towards the Tustrup jættestue. At one point I mis-navigated but managed to pick up an alternative route. I'm glad that I made this error or we would not have driven past this little dolmen, just sitting in a field quietly minding its own business.

Suddenly the weather changed! From bright sunshine we hit hail, then sleet, then snow, then more hail. Fortunately in the space of 20 minutes the blizzard passed and we were back in bright sunshine for the Tustrup jættestue (page 161 of TME)

The place reminded us a lot of St Just in France. The heathland landscape, the birds, the general atmosphere. There are four main monuments here each within a few metres of each other. There is a stone chamber…

…this lovely chambered tomb with spectacular kerbstones…

… and a weird thing that was probably a building or mortuary house…

…and this marvellous passage grave.

It didn't have kerbstones but the interior was awesome! I sat on top of it for while and considered the landscape, the hooded crows and these lovely monuments.

More from our day out in North East Denmark in the next blog…

Høj – hill or mound
Jættestue – literally 'giant's stones'
Skibssætning – megalithic longship
Ringdysser – mound or barrow with stones or burial chamber
Dyssekammer – dolmen or burial chamber, I think!
Langdysser – long barrow with stones and/or burial chamber

Photos: Moth Clark and Jane Tomlinson

Jane Posted by Jane
13th April 2006ce
Edited 14th April 2006ce

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