The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

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Matthiesings Opferstein (Natural Rock Feature)

taken from the information board:

Matthiesing's altar stone

Altar stone from the early Stone Age (3rd millennium BC). According to legend, the devil wanted to hurl this boulder against the Ueffel church and destroy it.

But the devil's power was broken by the crowing of the cock at the neighboring court of Matthiesing at midnight.

The stone then turned on its own axis.

Karlsteine

taken from the "Route of Megalithic Culture" information board:

Traveling Stones

During the Saalian (Wolstonian) Stage of the Ice Age about 20,000 years ago glaciers transported granite stones from Scandonavia to Northern Germany, which at the time was covered by approx. 400 metres of ice. Climatic warming caused the ice to melt, thus providing the Neolithic people in North-West Germany with their impressive construction material.

Only the Karlsteine do not fit into the pciture: The carbon-quartzite used originates from the neighbouring Piesberg. According to the legend Charlemagne split the capstone in half with his whip which is even more astonishing given that carbon-quartize is one of the toughest stone far and wide.

Within walking distance (approx. 500 metres) to the southwest the "Kreuz im Hone" a cross is commemorating the place where the first Christian mass in the Osnabrück region was said 783 AD. Following Charlemagne's ambitions to convert the Saxons to Christianity.

Vehrte 1 (Passage Grave)

taken from the information board:

Devil's oven
Neolithic megalithic grave

On the construction of megalithic tombs
Megalithic tombs are among the buildings of the so-called megalithic culture (from Greek mega = large and lithos = stone). Its essential element is the upright stone (= menhir). Such constructions exist as rows of stones, stone circles, temples and tombs. The best known example is Stonehenge in England.

The North German megalithic sites are almost exclusively grave sites from the Neolithic period, built between 3,500 and 2,800 BC. The core of a site is the ground-level chamber. It consists of individual yokes placed side by side in east-west direction (one yoke = two wall stones and one capstone) and the closing stones on the narrow sides. The floor of the burial chamber was paved with small boulder fragments and stone scree. The large joints between the wall and ceiling stones are filled with dry masonry wall.

The name passage grave, as a name for the type of grave that is common in our country, states that originally a short passage formed of boulders ran towards the middle of the southern longitudinal wall.

The entire stone construction was covered by its builders with a mound. The hill foot was partly framed with still visible oval stoneworks to prevent slippage of the accumulated earth masses.

Vehrte 2 (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

taken from the information board:

Devils dough trough
Neolithic grave site

The builders of the megalithic tombs
In northern Germany, the megalithic tombs belong to the legacy of the so-called funnel beaker culture, named after the typical shape of their pottery. This population began in the Neolithic period from about 3,500 BC. also in our country, to practice agriculture and livestock. With this they finished the oldest and longest period of human history, the time of hunter-gatherer cultures, and introduced the sedentary way of life.

From the study of flower pollen we know today that it was 2-3°C warmer then today. There were large oak mixed forests on whose clear edges, near the stream or river, with stone axes the forest was cleared and fields and settlements were created. The most important crop was cereals, whereby only those species were cultivated, which came in the course of 5,000 years with the spreading of the rural way of life from Near East to Central and Northern Europe. These included the wheat varieties einkorn and wild emmer as well as barley.

The livestock can be retraced from individual bone finds. In the 4th millennium BC after that, cattle and pigs and, also imported from Southeastern Europe, sheep and goats were bred.

Haltern (Passage Grave)

taken from the information board:

Megalithic tomb Slopsteine
Neolithic grave site
(3500 - 2800 BC)

The foothills of the Wiehengebirges north of Bissendorf are well into the 18./19. Century a center of graves from the Neolithic and Bronze Age. The map shows this picture also for today's time, however the inventory has decreased by a multiple. The exact number of originally existing sites is no longer detectable today.

The megalithic tombs belong to the Neolithic megalithic culture (Greek: "mega" = large, "lithos" = the stone) and are among the oldest and most impressive proof of human life and work in northern Germany. They date from the 3rd to the 4th millennium BC and still inspire the imagination of the viewer today. The researchers associate them with the Neolithic revolution when the sedentary lifestyle began with the beginnings of agriculture and livestock. Concrete references to the people who built and used these monuments are sparse.

Grambergen 1 (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

taken from the information board:

Megalithic tomb Deitinghausen
Neolithic grave site
(3500 - 2800 BC)

The foothills of the Wiehengebirges north of Bissendorf are well into the 18./19. Century a center of graves from the Neolithic and Bronze Age. The map shows this picture also for today's time, however the inventory has decreased by a multiple. The exact number of originally existing sites is no longer detectable today.

The megalithic tombs belong to the Neolithic megalithic culture (Greek: "mega" = large, "lithos" = the stone) and are among the oldest and most impressive proof of human life and work in northern Germany. They date from the 3rd to the 4th millennium BC and still inspire the imagination of the viewer today. The researchers associate them with the Neolithic revolution when the sedentary lifestyle began with the beginnings of agriculture and livestock. Concrete references to the people who built and used these monuments are sparse.

Düwelsteene - Heiden (Passage Grave)

The Düwelsteene (Devil Stones in Low German) are the most south-westerly, in the core area preserved megalithic site of funnel beaker culture, created about 3500-2800 BC and one of the few in Westphalia.

They were already restored in 1932. The northeast-southwest oriented site is 12 m long outside (inside 10.2 m) and 2.7 m to 4.3 m wide (inside 1.5 m to 2.2 m); the inside height is 1.5 m. The now-defunct original chamber floor was covered with a patch of flat field and flint stones. Almost all the supporting stones and three capstones are still preserved, whereas an enclosure is no longer visible today. Access to the chamber is no longer safe to determine.

The megalith tomb can be reached via the Reken exit of the autobahn A31. Here you drive towards Heiden until you reach a roundabout. Turn right (north) until the next roundabout, here first straight ahead over the roundabout and after 290m right into the Düwelsteenweg. Follow this for 1.6 km until you come to an junction. Here you should park and walk the remaining 600m on a sandy, unpaved road on foot.

Visited July 2018

Tannenhausen (Passage Grave)

In a residential area in Tannenhausen, north of Aurich, is the only remaining megalithic tomb, of four former in Friesland. Strictly speaking, the complex consists of two burial chambers, which were connected to each other via a common burial mound. From the western chamber there are only three stones left (two capstones and one supporting stone), popularly called butter, bread and cheese (low german Botter, Brood & Kees). From the eastern chamber was not a single stone available, this was reconstructed with new boulders. The two burial chambers are located in a park-like area, with many information boards, for my taste a bit too much of the good.

To visit the site drive north through Tannenhausen on the Dornumer Straße. Just before the road makes a right turn, turn left into Stürenburgweg. After 250m turn left into Am Hünengrab (what a name ;-) ) and after furthermore 150m turn right into Möhlenkamp. The site is on the left after 140m.

Visited July 2018

taken from one of the information boards:

Research of the tomb

This site in Tannenhausen is one of the four known Stone Age megalithic graves in East Frisia. It is the only one from which remnants can still be seen.

The western chamber was about twelve meters long, 2.2 meters to 2.8 meters wide and 1.3 meters in height. It consisted of about 20 large boulders. The east chamber was about 11.2 meters long and 2.2 meters to 3.2 meters wide. Five identical six large capstones formed the roof. Both burial chambers were covered by oval hills. The entrances to the burial chambers were on the south side.


Excavations

Various excavations already took place in 1780 before the founding of the colony Tannenhausen. Regular archaeological investigations were only carried out between 1962 and 1963.

The megalithic tombs date back to the early phase of the so-called Western group (between Drenthe and the Weser) of the funnel beaker culture around 3,500 BC.

The stones to be visited in the area are two capstones and a supporting stone of the western burial chamber. During the excavations the traces of the former other stones could be documented.

The original stones of many megalithic tombs in northern Germany and the Groningen region were smashed, robbed and used for other structures - often probably also for churches.


Tannenhausen findings

The people of the funnel beaker culture were the first in East Frisia to make ceramic vessels. They were richly decorated with geometric patterns. These were carved before the fire in the wet clay and filled with a white paste, which is usually no longer preserved.

The tools still consisted entirely of stone. The ax blades, for example, were made of flint, as well as the arrowheads. As jewelery pearls from rock, but also from amber from the Baltic Sea were used.


The now to be seen site represents a reconstruction! The stones are in the original locations, but they are not the original stones. These have disappeared over time. The reconstruction shows what one of the tombs might have looked like. A stylized entrance allows a view into the inside of the tomb. Even the access from wooden posts can not be reconstructed today, so it is represented by vertical wooden posts.

Klein-Berßen 2

The tomb originally had an oval border, but there is no sign of it today. The burial chamber is oriented approximately east-west, its length is 10m, the width is 2.4m in the west and 1.8m in the east. The chamber possessed in her original condition six pairs of support stones on the long sides, one endstone each on the narrow sides and six capstones. Almost all support stones are still in situ, only the western endstone has been removed. All the capstones were blown up. Several large pieces are still inside the chamber.

The tomb is very easy to find. You drive on the L54 from Klein Berßen to Haselünne, after approx. 2,5km you turn right into the street Loherfeld, the tomb lies after another 300m immediately right (north) of the street.

Visited July 2018

Westerloh 2 (Passage Grave)

Due to the fact that the tomb is still buried deep and heavily overgrown in the undergrowth, here follows the description from the German Wikipedia:

The 5.0 × 1.5 meter east-west orientated chamber lies deep in the ground. Of the original ten support stones and the four capstones missing one each. Of the entrance stones is only one in situ. One entrance and the capstone of the entrance, which is located in the middle of the south side, are missing. An enclosure or a hill can not be proven.

The tomb lies on private land, drive from Westerloh on the K240 to Lähden. After about 1.7km you come to a junction, where the forest begins on both sides of the road. The road "Zum Herthum" to the north leads to the graves Westerloh 2 and Lähden 2, the dirt road to the south to grave Westerloh 1, which is located in a small wood just outside the forest.

Visited July 2018

Groß Berßen 10

Groß Berßen 10 or alternatively Deepmoorsteene lies in a bush in the middle of farmland and is totally overgrown and neglected. It is a chamber approximately oriented in east-west direction. A large part of the supporting and capstones are still present. Of the original six capstones only one is missing.

To get to the tomb you leave Groß Berßen on the K159 to the southeast towards the settlement Osterfeld and Lähden. If the trees end right and left, turn south into Moorstraße. Follow this road for about 700 meters (keep to the left at a fork). Then you reach a plant of a petroleum pipeline, where you can park. From here, a path leads to the left (northeast), which you follow for about 200 meters. The tomb is then right about 60 meters away at the end of a green strip between two fields in the brushwood.

Visited July 2018

Groß Berßen 9

According to Sprockhoff this tomb is a Hunebed, which are rather rare in Emsland. It should have been 30 x 6m in size. Today, however, the overall site looks so chaotic that it is difficult to imagine the original megalithic tomb. The chamber is 5 x 2 m in size; 6 support stones are still present, including the two boundary stones on the narrow sides. It probably lacks 4 support stones, because it is likely to have acted around a four-yoke chamber, the capstones are missing. The chamber is located in a long enclosure, of which there are 17 stones left. They are partly relocated, so that the extent is not clearly recognizable.

The alternate name Brutsteene (bride stones) indicates that in the past weddings or fertility rituals were performed here. There are other sites in this area, which a similar name origin, like Visbeker Bräutigam or Visbeker Braut.

Groß Berßen 9 is located in a small wood south of the barrow heath "Am Wiesengrund". Drive from Groß Berßen north on the K159 towards Sögel. About 1.3km after the roundabout in Groß Berßen turn left into the road "Am Wiesengrund" and continue for 900m. Park here and walk 200m south to the tomb.

Visited July 2018

Groß Berßen 7 (Passage Grave)

taken from the "Route of Megalithic Culture" information board:

Excavated...
The grave was first described already in 1825, at that time it was largely hidden in a dune. According to other descriptions of the 19th century the grave was blown free more and more over time. in 1925 besides 28 stones also first finds like pottery sherds and stone artefacts were visible. During an excavation in 1955 the archaeologist Dr. Elisabeth Schlicht examined this grave scientifically. The grave chamber was 9.5 metres long, had five cornerstones and fourteen orthostats. In the middle of the southern longitudinal wall the entrance was marked with a threshold. The bottom of the chamber was paved with small boulders with an overlying layer of granite grus, and between the orthostats remains of dry masonry was found. Blast holes in a shattered, 6-ton capston give evidence of blasting attempts.

Groß Berßen 8 (Passage Grave)

taken from the "Route of Megalithic Culture" information board:

The Pyramids of the North
The chamber of "King's Grave" today consists of 21 existing orthostats and nine capstones, 30 stones of the former enclosure are also extant. For a long time it was especially popular belief taht a king had been laid to rest with his entourage or his family in th large, long grave. Built without any technical aids, one would explain the immense amount of work only for a prominent personality - like the pyramids for the Pharaohs of Egypt. It is not without reason we talk about the "Pyramids of the North" today in connection with the megalithic tombs. The construction of the Pyramids of Gaza is dated from 2,620 to 2,500 BC, thus at least 700 years later than the megalithic tombs of this region.

Hüven-Nord (Passage Grave)

One of the most beautiful megalithic tombs of Emsland and definitely a must see site to visit, if you are in this area!

Drive from Hüven on the L65 northward to Sögel. After you leave Hüven, there is a single house on the right side, right as the forest begins to the right. There is a small area where you can leave the car. A small sign and a forest track leads you to the tomb, which is just a 150m walk from here.

Impressive 22 x 10 m large megalithic tomb with a very well-preserved oval enclosure, where the enclosure stones are relatively large for an Emsland chamber. The oriented chamber in east-west direction is still almost complete. It has a length of about 15 meters, in the middle of a width of 1.50 and at the two ends of about 1.0 meters. 25 supporting stones are available and are in situ. Of the original 11 capstones are still 8 in their original position. The oval enclosure of about 22 meters in length and 10 meters wide is still almost complete, only a few stones are missing.

Revisited July 2018

taken from the "Route of Megalithic Culture" information board:

Of lost treasures

With a total of 52 from originally well over 100 more or less preserved megalithic tombs northern Emsland is virtually "rich in stones". These few visible "treasures" of prehistory include the well-preserved grave "Volbers Megalithic Stones". This tomb is one of the largest graves in the region constisting of eleven bays with 25 orthostats still standing and eleven preserved capstones. The 22 metres long stone surrounding is almost complete. But time is taking its toll. A few years ago one of the capstones slipped into the chamber. With great effort and most recent technical equipment it was tried to manoeuvre the capstone back to its original position. Success was extremely short-dated: After only a few weeks, the stone slipped back into the chamber where it still lies today.

Holte-Lastrup 2 (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

This is the northern of the two tombs. Since there are hardly any structures to be recognized by the underbrush, moss-grown and the strong vegetation growth, here is the description from the German Wikipedia:

This site is very similar to the other one (Holte-Lastrup 1). The burial chamber is northeast-southwest oriented and originally also had four pairs of wall stones on the long sides, two end stones and four capstones. According to Sprockhoffs reconstruction drawing it might also be a grand dolmee. In situ, only three wall stones of the northwestern and two of the southeastern long side are preserved. Inside the chamber are two broken into several fragments capstones.

Visited July 2018

Holte-Lastrup 1 (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

This is the southern of the two tombs. Since there are hardly any structures to be recognized by the underbrush and the strong vegetation growth, here is the description from the German Wikipedia:

The tomb has an east-west oriented chamber, which is probably a grand dolmen. In its original condition, it is said to have possessed four pairs of wall stones on the long sides, one endstone each on the narrow sides and four capstones. When Ernst Sprockhoff documented the tomb in 1927, he found the western endstone, two adjoining wall stones of the north and three adjacent wall stones of the south side standing in situ. The western capstone is broken, but is still on the wall stones. The remaining three capstones are broken inside the chamber. A recent documentation has shown that the two eastern wall stones of the north side, which were assumed to be missing by Sprockhoff, are still present.

Visited July 2018

Holte-Lastrup

Both graves are badly damaged and hard to find. A visit is really worthwhile only if you have already visited all the other tombs in this area. In addition, you should visit the tombs rather in winter because of the strong growth of underbrush, a GPS device is absolutely necessary.

According to Wikipedia a third tomb originally located near these two sites was destroyed in the 19th century.

To find the two tombs, drive southward on the K267 from Lahden to Lastrup. About 1.8km behind Lahden turn left into Clemenskoppel and continue on this road for about 670m, until you come to junction and the fields end on the left side of the road. Park here and take the forest track, which goes in southeast direction. Walk for about 200m, both tombs are left of this track, opposite of a pond. Good luck!

Visited July 2018
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During my first trip to Ireland back in 2006, I was bitten by the 'megalithic' bug and since then I seek for every opportunity to visit as much sites as possible, with a bias for stone circles.

As I live in the southwest of Germany (not an area famous for megaliths), I rely on my holidays to be able to visit these sites.

My TMA Content: