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Ashen Hill Barrows (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery)

I parked on the B3135 opposite Harptree lodge then walked back up to the gate opposite the southern henge. Hopping the gate and walking across the field the barrows cut a very impressive silhouette against the skyline. I head to the far right hand barrow first, back home i'd drive a hundred miles to see a barrow like this, there's eight of them here, well seventeen or eighteen actually but......
I stand atop the western barrow and look along the line of barrows, six are in a line but the far eastern two are off line and curving the line to the south. I make my way along the line going round this one up the next and round that one. It's worth noting about now the view to the south, almost paradoxically to North Hill and it's group of nine barrows, prosaically named Priddy Nine barrows, that one must have taken a while.
Ashen Hill barrows are every bit as cool and impressive as Priddy Nine barrows, I just wanted to say that, I don't know weather it means anything to anyone but I'd heard of Priddy nine barrows but not of Ashen hill barrows, and I should have.
Having said that I gird my loins and stride of to the nine barrows.
postman Posted by postman
28th December 2019ce

Stony Littleton (Long Barrow)

Fortune favours the old.

This years winter solstice has obligingly fallen on a Sunday for me, quite a feat as any other day and I would miss it, so even though I've been at work before 5am all week, I'm happy to get up even earlier and drive the drive on my own down to Somerset, and seeing as I hit fifty last month, happy chance benefits the aging.

Even though I went too far on the M5 and ended up going the long way round Bath and Bristol, I still got to the custom made car park for Stoney Littleton before sunrise. But it was full, a motor home gleefully took up half of it and five cars took up the rest. Consternation.
I knew there would be other people here, but I expected to be able to park. So I did, in a one car space along side the road further up. Then I walked back to the car park, crossed the little foot bridge, and went up the hill.

It's been such a long time since I was last here, so long ago that I don't have any digital photos of the place, it was a winter solstice that last time too, but it was a grey day and the sun never showed up. So with a mix of blue sky and fluffy whites I was feeling pretty fortunate. As I pass the sign pointing to the mound I can see there are indeed other people here, A guy with a cowboy type looking hat stands atop the chamber, as I pass over the stile I start to hear things, a heart beat? the rhythm of the universe perhaps? I approach the entrance of the chamber, there's a woman in an oilskin coat, we nod at each other, the noise is louder now, the heart beat has quickened, the pulse of nature? No.
It is a twat with a drum, funny, there was a plonker with a drum here last time too, and he spoke like a Bristolian too, grooooan does he come here every year and take up the end of the passage, I think this is the case.

So, bereft of the best seat in the house, I walk round the structure, stand on top of the structure, then pick a spot to stand by the entrance and wait for the sun. It finally arrives at about a quarter to nine, quite late right? The chamber is on a slight hill looking up the hill, so you have to wait for the sun and when it gets here it wont be a big beautiful orange ball, but rather a bright white light, this presumably was intentional, they didn't want the faint wan light of first rising, but the strong light of a risen sun.
Just then a bloke erupted from the chamber, he looked at me, I looked at him, then I looked at the open entrance, and in I go. My chamber was the first on the right, opposite me was a woman, the mate of the bloke that just left, then she left, uncomfortable alone in the dark. Further into the passage I suspect each chamber has a body in it, the drummer takes up the back of the passage, the best seat in the house. An older man then comes past me making for the light at the end of the tunnel, so I move deeper into the chamber and take up a seat in the middle left chamber. The sun is doing it's thing, it looks phenomenal streaming along the passage and lighting up perfectly some twat with a drum, I decide upon some photos and then exit the chamber myself, am I reborn, can I see the place in a new light, hard to tell, so I go on walkabout to see the place from a different field. Up hill the walk takes me, then round and then back, not a long walk, always keeping the chambers entrance in sight, when I get back it's all empty and I'm alone with the edifice, I get into every chamber, and finally take up the best seat in the house. It's wet, dripping, they were definitely not sitting on the floor. Oddly, maybe, the bit I like best inside the passage is where it narrows to the width of a slim man, me. Purpose made.
postman Posted by postman
28th December 2019ce

Carnedd Moel Siabod (Round Cairn)

There are, I reckon it's fair to say, both positive and negative attributes to 'spontaneous action'. Ah, spontaneity: anathema to some - the methodical thinkers, planners, those with compartmentalised car boots ensuring everything is always in its right place (one assumes Thom Yorke is an advocate?)... yet a prerequisite to others - the instinctive, inquisitive, opportunistic, the reckless, even? As for myself, I guess I fall between camps... as I do for most things nowadays. Implacable opposition to religious and political extremists (particularly farcically ignorant, far left champagne socialist 'rappers') naturally proving the rule. Yeah, plan for the worst, but be prepared to improvise at short notice. Seize the opportunity. Speaking of which...

A passing shower, pounding upon what back in the day would've been canvas, wakes me with a jolt at Fferm y' Rynys, my tent, if not exactly in the shadow of the great long barrow of Capel Garmon - unfortunately sunshine is required for such a phenomenon - certainly not too distant. Upon gingerly emerging from my erstwhile cocoon I note a seemingly immutable mass of opaque, grey vapour looming where the elegant profile of Moel Siabod should be to the west. Should be, but as experience informs, all too often isn't. Nevertheless, as dawn gives way to early morning, these clouds progressively realize a warmer, more optimistic glow suggestive of change... sufficient, in fact, to prompt me to head toward Capel Curig to see what's what. One of the wettest places in the UK? What could possibly go wrong? However, sure enough, Moel Siabod's facade is present and very much correct, towering above the cascading Afon Llugwy at Pont Cynfyg. Now there are some that maintain rivers 'talk' - divulge their story, if you will - to the susceptible. If so, perhaps the Afon Llugwy should be accorded a PG rating? Whatever, the subconscious duly primed, the penny finally drops upon passing the shiny 4x4s aligned outside Plas-y-Brenin... why not reacquaint myself with the summit cairn? Ah, the moth to the flame....

Spontaneity triumphs in the ensuing deliberations and - before I have the opportunity to reflect and countermand - I set off, skirting the eastern extremity of the Llynnau Mymbyr to ascend into the trees, that familiar, intoxicating blend of nervous excitement/determination/what-the-hell-am-I-doing-you-muppet? to the fore. The path is initially heavy going underfoot: wet rock, slippery following the recent rain, the slitheryness factor exacerbated by fallen leaves... however, as height is gained and the woodland left behind it morphs into a straightforward grassy/muddy plod all the way to the top. Well, almost, that is. More-or-less. That 'the top' is a very long time coming - and takes everything I've got in my available energy reserves - probably signifies more about it being some thirteen years since my last ascent of this mountain than anything else. But there you are. With grandstand retrospective views to Y Glyderau and Y Carneddau, thankfully unimpeded by the cloud of morning, to animate the all too necessary frequent pauses... a traveller can't exactly complain, can he? Not that any spirits or other similar manifestations contravening the laws of physics that may - or may not - frequent this apparent behemoth beached humpback whale of a mountain, would give a monkey's if I did. Eventually, I reach the crest of the summit plateau, whereby the landscape suddenly explodes - hell, like John Hurt's chest in Alien - into a shattered disarray of mechanically weathered dolerite intrusion. Yeah, the 'shapely hill' bears its jagged teeth in no uncertain manner assuring further onward progress is no easy matter.

Finally, there it is. The cairn. Now as upland cairns go... structurally speaking, it is a poor example, having been hollowed-out by successive multitudes of unschooled walkers to provide shelter from the wind. Or rather, to judge by the very significant footprint, a pale evocation of its former self. Unfortunately, all this is to be expected in this day and age. Anyhow, noting that, owing to my early start, none of the aforementioned muppets is as yet on the scene, I take the opportunity for closer inspection. But not before applying every item of kit I have brought with me in an - although not totally successful - at least B+ attempt to keep out the punishingly brutal cold wind. No need to vandalise scheduled prehistoric monuments... if you understand your environment. Funnily enough, it does tend to be windy upon mountain summits. Although it has to be said that the application of thermal underwear over boots is not to be recommended. Not a good look. Although observing what passes for 'fashion' these days I'm pretty sure someone would buy it.

Anyway, the solo exploration reveals unexpected detail: a large slab and associated lesser fragments suggestive of a former cist, an assumption given further credence by what look very much like two small orthostats still remaining in situ within the 'shelter'. How these have survived the millennia upon such a popular mountain is beyond me, it really is. And yes, the circular footprint is indeed much more extensive than I recall. But it is where they put it that counts. Yeah, the archaeology, of course, is but of secondary importance to the sense of place. It is the landscape context that makes this the archetypal spot to set your Bronze Age VIP on the road to eternity. Or David Byrne's 'nowhere', depending upon your point of view.

Although this is my fifth visit over the years, the spellbinding vistas nevertheless continue to blow the mind. The key here is Moel Siabod's isolated location, standing aloof at the eastern extremity of Y Moelwynion and, to be honest, sharing little of the characteristics of its neighbours. Its elevation, measuring up at a very respectable 2,861ft, is also noteworthy thus ensuring the aesthetic dividends to be enjoyed here are among the finest in all Snowdonia. In my opinion. Today, all the old friends are present and correct: to the north, beyond the eastern heights of Y Glyderau and the obscurely wondrous long cairn at Bwlch Goleuni, are the massed summits of Y Carneddau bristling with upland cairns; to the northwest across Dyffryn Mymbyr and its cists, the chaotic, natural rockpiles of Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr separated by the unearthly Castell-y-Gwynt... the latter in its element today overlooking the soggy stone circle beside lonely Llyn Cwmffynnon; directing the gaze further west, beyond Llanberis Pass, is the Snowdon Massif, sentinel peak Yr Wyddfa subsumed within its customary cloak of grey; then Nant Gwynant and Y Cnicht... the remainder of Y Moelwynion, some peaks standing in mute, ravaged homage to Wales' former industrial heritage; eastward toward Betws-y-Coed (reversing my dawn view), the moors of Denbighshire, Y Berwyn. In fact, it is only to the south that the iconic 360-degree panorama is interrupted... by the summit itself. Easily rectified. Ah, there you go. The Migneint and Southern Snowdonia. Tick.

Here the uninitiated punter will be in for a shock, the bulbous form of Moel Siabod's northern flank - so apparently benign when viewed from the shores of Llynnau Mymbyr - catastrophically transformed in an impressive display of naked rock plunging toward the gaunt, restored keep of Dolwyddelan Castle, set far below within Cwm Lledr. Here, too, is Daear Ddu, a superb natural route of ascent (one of the finest in Snowdonia) from the glacial corrie tarn Llyn-y-Foel, a shining glint of water visible sheltering far beneath the towering north-eastern ridge. It was here (at SH71005520) that, if Coflein is to be believed, a fabulous Bronze Age shield was discovered in 1784. Surely not? But then again, what an appropriate location! I make an extended stop here to delay returning to the increasingly more popular summit, my mind swimming as a rainbow arcs across the void. Was there really a priceless treasure to be found at its base a couple of centuries past? Whatever the truth, there is certainly priceless treasure of a more metaphysical nature to be experienced here today. Steady now. But don't just take my word for it... similarly impressed, by all accounts, are a couple of 'scally' climbers struggling past... we share a brief mutual epiphany. Top lads, eyes aglow with wonder.

With a little over an hour or so before I must begin my descent, I return to the now deserted summit... and find Moel Siabod has one more surprise for me today. With minimal warning - as if a boxer flooring his opponent with a zero backlift uppercut - the cloud base swirling above Cwm Lledr and the excellent Y Ro Wen suddenly envelopes all, sending me into a claustrophobic environment of looming apparitions and spiralling wraiths of moisture. An abstruse world seemingly for my eyes only. The sun, however, refuses to submit... and, upon executing a 180, I find myself face to face with... myself. A Brocken Spectre, a rainbow kaleidoscope of colour illuminating my shadow as if I've become the 'Ready-brek Kid' styled by JMW Turner himself. That's making the assumption it wasn't the former occupant of the nearby cairn going walkabout? Or a ghostly warrior muttering 'I'm sure I left it hereabouts?' No, definitely the wind. I think. Wow, what a finale.

Returning to the cairn I make a compass bearing for Plas y Brenin and, after confirming this with one taken earlier (as is my way) and throwing a respectful nod to times - and people - past, I set off back down the mountain. Overjoyed, but a little unnerved, too. Emerging from the gloom I find my bearing is true, but nevertheless I'm quite a way to the west of the path. Rain moves in during the final half-mile and I realise my window of opportunity was indeed but fleeting. Spontaneity, eh? I'm all for it. But best take a compass....
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
28th December 2019ce

Rannagulzion (Cairn(s))

The cairn at Rannagulzion is a short walk east from the standing stone at Drumderg. Follow the track, head south east at the crossroads into the heather.

Turf covers the site but one or two bits of cairn material poke through. It sits at nearly 7m wide being 0.5 tall.

Sadly the cairn at NO 1747 5494 could not be found.

Visited 22/10/2019.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
27th December 2019ce

Drumderg (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Head south on the minor road from Cairn Gleamnach and you'll reach the the Drumderg Wind Farm. I parked at the large area near the locked gates. It says danger to walkers, I ignored this thinking it highly unlikely a turbine would land on my head.

The standing stone is about a 400m walk from the road and is to the north side of the track. It is impressive, well shaped and stands at 2m tall. Well positioned it has fantastic views, the Lomonds (in Fife) to the south, west to Gleamnach, east to the Angus hills and north to Glenshee.

Impressive!

Visited 22/10/2019.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
27th December 2019ce

Cairn Gleamnach (Cairn(s))

Cairn Gleamnach is an almost unbelievable site, almost 20m wide, in some parts 1m tall, it has been quarried and it has been houked. I counted 64 kerbs, 40 of which were earthfast in kerb that surrounds the entire site except for the entrance for the houking and quarrying.

Take the minor road heading south east from the A93 heading south from the B950 junction. After a long straight, I pulled in at a small wood near the Hill Of Kingseat, the site is a short walk of 100m behind.

Tremendous site!

Visited 22/10/2019.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
27th December 2019ce

Mains Of Persie (Cairn(s))

Set amongst ruined hut circles and numerous clearance cairns, the Mains of Persie cairn is quite an impressive site.

It stands at 13m wide, being 0.5m tall. Intermittent kerbs surround the site especially on the south and east were at least 10 stones are still earthfast.

I parked about a 1/2 mile north of Persie House on the A93s western side at the entrance to a field. The cairn is up the hill which, on the 22nd, was reasonably dry until the wood that obscures the site. Walking to the south of the wood is quite a boggy affair until swinging north west were being uphill it becomes drier.

Visited 22/10/2019.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
27th December 2019ce

Pobuill Fhinn (Stone Circle)

The last stop on this trip was Pobuill Fhinn, a place I last visited when playing gigs at Lochmaddy and Lochboisdale many years ago.

Its a beautiful oval shaped site and there's no need for me to add anything else.

However if looking for Fionns Grave, you'll struggle as it is well covered in heather which is perhaps a good thing as it can observe the beautiful view looking south undisturbed.

With that, it was back to Lochmaddy to catch a ferry.

Visited 30/7/2019.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
27th December 2019ce

Eilean A'Ghallain (Stone Fort / Dun)

An attempt to walk to the dun proved futile as a few steps from the road, heading west, led to 'that sinking feeling, as wellington boots began to fill with water. Incessant rain had made the grass look greener it also had made sure the marsh was working well, so I beat a hasty retreat to the safety of the road.

Go to the end of road, instead of turning east to Dun Thomaidh, keep going. The dun is to the west, a further dun further west will have to wait till he next time.

Apparently a causeway was on the east side as described by Beveridge, no chance of looking for that.

Visited 24/7/2019.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
27th December 2019ce

Cleitreabhal A Tuath (Chambered Cairn)

A final trek up to Clettraval led to an unexpected discovery of the remains of another chamber cairn, a conversation with our new found friends at Berneray helped.

About 300m short of the view point look west and downhill, the site can be clearly seen. Just beyond is the cairn at Corary.

Being 20m wide and 4m tall, several huts presumably shooting butts have been made. However on the south side at least 5 kerbs remain providing evidence of the cairns existance.

On a really clear day St. Kilda can be seen from here, makes you wonder if that was the reason for its positioning.

Visited 29/7/2019
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
27th December 2019ce

Cwm Bwch, Great Rhos (Round Barrow(s))

The Radnor Forest, that compact horseshoe of heather-clad summits rising to the north(ish) of New Radnor, has, for me, always stood aloof within the canon of Welsh mountains; not really belonging, yet nonetheless indispensable to anyone attempting to understand the 'big picture'. Yeah, despite possessing more than a hint of the unforgiving topography of Y Berwyn and - not surprisingly - that of the not-too-distant Black Mountains, culturally speaking, at least, the distinctly Anglo Saxon nomenclature prevalent here sets the region apart. Too distant from the Mam C's to facilitate day trips and not easily accommodated within itineraries focussed upon Rhayader, 'out of sight' too readily became 'out of mind'... that is, prior to viewing - in seemingly glacial time - a sprawling, grasping tsunami of hill fog envelope all from the ramparts of the excellent Cefn-y-Gaer hillfort last year. So, the burrowing worm of curiosity was set upon its impetuous course; not quite as dramatically as the Ceti eel larvae scenes in The Wrath of Khan, perhaps, but inexorably nevertheless.

So, one year hence I happen to notice a brief hiatus in the usually inclement Mid Walian weather patterns actually coinciding with my travel plans. For once. Now if I was a religious man - or even Leonard Cohen - I might well have uttered a 'Hallelujah!', if only inwardly. However, I'm not, so a wry smile must suffice until, sure enough, blue skies overhead, following an exhausting early morning drive from Essex, confirm we are good to go. That's both the determined 'Captain Mainwaring' me and the counterbalancing 'Sergeant Wilson - Do you think this is wise?' me. Somewhat disconcertingly, a full twenty-four years have elapsed since my only previous visit to the 2,165ft summit of Great Rhos; a comparatively recent seven since a sojourn upon the wondrously Silbury-esque Whimble and parent Bache Hill... so Great Rhos it is, then, the approach from the west seemingly most conducive to success, bearing in mind my wonky knees and Harley Dingle-related uncertainties. Well, I like my visits to the hills to be a blast, but not literally so. Furthermore, unlike the aforementioned tops and, indeed, Black Mixen, Great Rhos's trio of Bronze Age round barrows are not located at the summit, but upon the dramatic northern and southern flanks of Cwm Bwch to the north-west, precipitously plunging facades of grass and rock riven with prominent water-sculptured gulleys. Hey, it's almost as if the people who erected these monuments knew what they were doing?

A minor road winds its sinuous way northwards from the A44 at Llanegley to eventually terminate within Cwm Ffrwd at - appropriately enough - Cwm Farm, whereby I'm subjected to a rather farcical 'interrogation' by a young(ish) farmer-type on a quad bike.... 'Where are you staying?'... 'Dunno, depends. Wild camping'.... etc. Mindful of leaving the car unattended for the duration in such circumstances, I bite my tongue. For once. Anyhow, a public footpath ascends very steeply eastwards to attain the summit of Cefn-y-grug at a cross dyke, the western flank of Great Rhos utterly overwhelming the scene beyond despite its 'modest' elevation. From here I follow a rather eroded upland byway to the approx south-east to, in turn, gain the southern headwall of Cwm Merwys... leading eventually to the summit. The retrospective views to the west are as exquisite as they are expansive, the captivated gaze drawn toward the distant Cwmdeuddwr Hills and, further to the north, Pumlumon herself. Perhaps not household names to some. But in my opinion, they should be.

However, the summit can - indeed must - wait for a while since it is time to keep an appointment with the southern-most of Great Rhos's tumuli, this a little to the north at SO17566414. Although bisected by a fenceline, the monument possesses both relatively substantial form and sublime positioning. Although clearly located so as not to overlook Cwm Bwch, the equally, if not superior, setting of the northern barrows is readily apparent across the unseen void. It dawns upon me that the descent to Cwm Bwch will be very, very steep indeed... but such is the overpowering, almost spiritual majesty of this landscape I have no choice but to visit, to experience. To be drawn into the melodrama. I would suggest the Bronze Age architects were only too aware of the possible quasi-hypnotic outcomes of the manipulation of psychosomatic processes up here. I could, quite literally, stay all day upon this wondrous perch... but there is so much to see.

The diversion, to approx south-east, to visit the summit of the mountain is much more arduous than the limited height gain would imply upon the map. Trackless plods across rough, heather-clad upland moor are like that. However, eventually, the concrete OS triangulation pillar is within my grasp, the deep defile of Harley Dingle more-or-less isolating Great Rhos from the rest of Radnor Forest, the craggy, western elevation of Great Creigiau a fine precursor to the great, truncated cone of Whimble itself. Yeah, as monumental an achievement as Silbury is, nobody does it better than Nature. Not so auspicious, perhaps, is the massive antenna standing beside Great Mixen's summit round barrow. I guess I should also mention that Harley Dingle, a live military firing range even during my first foray here 24 years ago is now, so it would appear, 'out of bounds' to walkers following a recent extension of the Danger Area "well beyond the confines of the valley itself." I'll post a link within the Miscellaneous section of the Whimble and Bache Hill page for reference.

So I retreat to the north-west and circle the headwall rim of Cwm Bwlch, keeping the forestry line to my right, to descend to the pièce de résistance of the day: the pair of round barrows at SO17586497 and SO17576494. The southern-most is by far the more impressive, perhaps even mirroring the monument seen in skyline profile to good effect across the gaping cwm... however it is the locale, the landscape context.... which truly blows my mind. Set almost upon the very lip of this grassy spur with vertiginous perspectives down to the valley floor, complete with serpentine stream, one simply cannot ask for more from an upland monument. To the approx west, I make out the 'Shepherd's Tump', another round barrow overlooking Cwm Ffrwdd from the north. I had intended to visit, but all focus is now upon enjoying the moment. And then reaching the car. In one piece. Without plummeting headfirst to oblivion.

The descent to Cwm Bwch is as ludicrously steep as I anticipate, verging upon the perpendicular, in fact. And, furthermore, is followed by an unbidden uphill grind to the cross dyke upon Cefn-y-grug upon reaching the nascent river. Just what I wanted at the end of the day. Not. Nevertheless, the hardship is but fleeting, relatively speaking. The retrospective of the barrow-crowned horseshoe is music to my eyes; the near-silent ambience, enlivened by just the subliminal sound of water upon displaced rock... and my own heavy breathing... likewise to my ears. A near-perfect natural symphony so complex as to overwhelm narrative cognition. Yet so simple.

If the insights of Newton are anything to go by I reckon Nature is pretty pleased with Cwm Bach.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
25th December 2019ce

Siddernhausen (Passage Grave)

Siddernhausen is located between the villages of Dohnsen and Siddernhausen east of Bergen and was originally located 500 meters north of its present location. It was excavated in 1977 and rebuilt at the current location on the Rübenberg.

The excavation revealed that the originally 16-meter-long chamber consisted of 20 to 24 supporting stones and about eight capstones.

The tomb is easy to find as it is signposted in both villages. The easiest way to find the tomb is if you come from Beckedorf on the L281 directly at the eastern entrance to Dohnsen, first turn right and then left again in the direction of Siddernhausen. After about 230m the street almost makes a right-angled bend and after another 200m you reach a larger property on the left hand. On the right side you can park at the sign to the grave and reach the tomb after about 150 m walk along a field edge.

Visited June 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
21st December 2019ce

taken from the on-site information board:

At this place a megalithic tomb has been rebuilt, the remains of which were excavated in 1977 in the middle of a field on the "Steinberg" - 500 m north of the current location. Its destruction probably took place in the 17th or 18th century when the disturbing stones in the field were sunk into the ground. Furthermore, a significant part of the former building structure was lost through the removal of the stones.

The excavation findings showed that the burial chamber originally consisted of 20-40 supporting stones and about 8 capstones. It had a side access so that this grave can be described as a "passage grave". The free spaces between the supporting and capstones were firmly closed with dry masonry. The entire facility was probably originally covered by a mound of earth (see reconstruction drawing).

Megalithic tombs were built around 4000 years ago (2400 to 1800 BC) in the early stone age. Their distribution extends along the coastal areas of Western Europe. According to current knowledge, they are graves of a sedentary farming population from the younger Stone Age. These sites probably served as a burial place for several generations. The dead were laid on the floor of the burial chamber and equipped with their traditional jewellery, clay pots and devices for everyday use for survival after death.
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
21st December 2019ce

Oberndorfmark A (Passage Grave)

The northeast-southwest oriented rectangular burial chamber consists of ten wall stones, four supporting stones on the long sides and one endstone on the narrow sides. Three capstones rested on the four pairs of supporting stones, the middle one of which is considerably narrower and has been broken. The chamber measures 6.5 x 2 m. In the middle of the southeast side is the entrance from which the pair of supporting stones is preserved, while the capstone is missing.

Visited June 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
15th December 2019ce

Oberndorfmark B (Passage Grave)

The rectangular burial chamber extends from northeast to southwest. Here, too, four pairs of supports form the long sides, which - as usual, but in contrast to tomb A - also correspond to four capstones. From the entrance in the southeast, only the southern supporting stone remains in situ. The dimensions of the chamber are 7 x 2.2 m. The tomb was scientifically investigated in 1924 by K.H. Jacob Friesen.

Visited June 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
15th December 2019ce

Oberndorfmark C (Passage Grave)

The relatively short burial chamber, which is also north-south-west facing, consists of three capstones, three supporting stones on the southeast side, four supporting stones in the northwest and the two end stones. The complex was restored by W. D. Asmus before the Second World War. Previously, the north-east yoke with the endstone, the middle supporting stone on the south-east long side and the south-west endstone were in situ. Two yokes had collapsed due to the weight of the capstones. The dimensions of the chamber is 5 x 2 m. The entrance appears to have been between the first and second girders (counted from the right) on the south-east long side.

Visited June 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
15th December 2019ce

Oberndorfmark E (Passage Grave)

Tomb E is the northernmost tomb of the Sieben Steinhäuser.

The rectangular north-east-south-west burial chamber is around 5.60 mx 2.00 m in size. Similar to tomb A, the long sides consist of four supporting stones, on which there are only three capstones. The supporting stone of the southwestern narrow side was missing and was added during restoration. From the passage in the middle of the southeastern long side, which consisted of two yokes, there are only two supporting stones left.

Visited June 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
15th December 2019ce

Oberndorfmark D (Passage Grave)

Tomb D is the most striking tomb of the Sieben Steinhäuser. The chamber is covered by a single massive slab, measuring approximately 4.60 mx 4.20 m in thickness. The clear width of the compact chamber is about 4 m x 3 m. In the middle of the southeast side is the entrance, the two supporting stones of which are original, while the capstone was added. The tomb has a rectangular stone enclosure or giant bed. It is about 7 m wide und 14 m long, apart from an abrupt gap to the southwest. According to the information board, the enclosure was once much longer, but was shortened to its current length for the use of the perimeter stones for the other tombs.

Visited June 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
15th December 2019ce

Sieben Steinhäuser (Bad Fallingbostel) (Megalithic Cemetery)

After my first attempt to visit the Sieben Steinhäuser failed in 2019, I tried it again almost exactly a year later, on the return journey of my megalithic tour through the Weser-Elbe triangle. This time I had informed myself beforehand whether a visit to the megalithic tombs at the NATO training area Bergen-Hohne is possible. Nevertheless, I was a little nervous when I approached the gatehouse, because my disappointment to have to stand in front of a locked barrier again and have to turn back would have been correspondingly high. But this time it worked without any problems. After registering, I received a visitor badge, instructions on how to behave, and a short information letter about the megalithic tombs. From the gatehouse you have to drive about 5 km to the parking lot, leaving the road and the marked ways is strictly forbidden, as there may still be ammunition left outside the roads and paths.

The Sieben Steinhäuser near Bad Fallingbostel are among the most famous large stone graves in Germany. Since they only consist of five graves, research was long carried out on two allegedly destroyed graves. However, an engraving from 1744 shows that there were only five tombs at that time. In the vernacular, "sieben" (seven) simply means in this context "several". For example, "meine Siebensachen" meaning "my seven things" do not consist of seven parts, but means "all my belonings". The good state of preservation of the tombs also suggests that there were originally only five.

Today, the tombs are protected by high earth walls against shooting practice and are surrounded by a fairly narrow fencing, which has a somewhat disturbing effect on the atmosphere. Nevertheless, it is worth a visit. When do you have the chance to see such five impressive megalithic tombs within a radius of only 200 m.

If you want to visit the site, please read my first fieldnotes below for a link, when the site is open for the public.

Visited June 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
15th December 2019ce

taken from the on-site information board:

As evidence of the oldest cultural landscape in northern Germany, megalithic tombs are among the most important archaeological monuments. The outstanding group of the Sieben Steinhäuser was already listed as a historic monument during the agricultural reform in 1923. Since it consists of only five individual graves, research was long carried out on two allegedly destroyed graves. However, an engraving from 1744 shows that there were only five tombs at that time.

In the 3rd millennium BC the tombs were built by the first farmers of the Funnel Beaker Culture. After the ice age glaciers melted, the stones boulders remained scattered in the heath.

Four of the five megalithic tombs were excavated and restored between 1924 and 1937. They were originally covered by mounds of earth. The sand that flowed through the wind and rain over the course of the millennia was not heaped up again during the restoration.

The transportation of the boulders and the construction of the graves using the simple technical means available at the time testify to the organizational talent and technical skills of the Neolithic people.

The Sieben Steinhäuser are now in a military training area. To protect against granite impacts, earth walls have been raised that surround the individual graves. The visual context between the tombs and the surrounding landscape has been lost as a result, but so far the group of monuments has been saved from being destroyed.
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
15th December 2019ce

Oberndorfmark D (Passage Grave)

taken from the on-site information board:

The Sieben Steinhäuser (Seven Stone Houses)
Megalithic Tombs of the Neolithic around 2300 BC

The history of the construction and use of the Sieben Steinhäuser can be traced on the basis of the form of the megalithic tombs and the excavation results obtained at the end of the thirties.

In the middle phase of the Neolithic period the tomb D with its huge capstone was built according to West European model first.

The tomb was enclosed by an elongated Hunebed, which was later shortened to its current length for the use of the perimeter stones for the other tombs. In one go, the site was subsequently extended by four almost identical stone tombs (A, B, C and E).

From the lower found layer of tomb B came as an addition a ceramic vessel (1) and a flint blade (2) to light. In tomb C the amber oyster (3) and the cross-cutting arrowhead (4) also belong to the oldest find.

While the construction of the passage graves is based on the North German tradition, the ceramics point to close contacts with the Central German area.

In the late Neolithic period, the graves were reused after partial clearing of the old burials. In them, the dead were buried with such typical additions as the vessel with herringbone pattern (5) from tomb E individually. With the end of the Neolithic Age, people no longer bury themselves in megalithic tombs. But they were respected by all cultural groups until modern times.
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
8th December 2019ce

Völkersen (Chambered Tomb)

Völkersen is the only surviving megalithic tomb in the district of Verden. The tomb is almost completely destroyed. Only one stone is left, which may be one of the final stones of the burial chamber. A panel attached to the stone mentions nine original supporting stones.

On the eastern outskirts of Völkersen on the road to the B215 the road Düvelshagen leads to the northeast. Follow the road for about 800 meters to a fork, here take the right road and reach after 850 meters to a natural gas extraction plant. Here you can park. Immediately before the plant, a path leads west into a grove. After 275 meters, a path branches off to the south-southwest, followe this path for 130 meters. Directly east of the path lies the ruined tomb.

Visited June 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
7th December 2019ce

Axstedt (Passage Grave)

The Hünensteine at Axstedt are located northwest of the village Axstedt on the Hünengräberweg in the remains of a former mound. The twelve lateral support stones and the two endstones of the eight-meter-long and 1.4-meter-wide chamber are largely preserved in situ. Of the formerly six capstones, only the one at the west end of the chamber is preserved. Access to the chamber was in the middle of the south side, two bearing stones of the passage have been preserved.

When I visited the tomb it was already quite late and the sun was slowly setting. Through the low sun the capstone of the burial chamber gleamed in a beautiful shade of red. Unfortunately my images didn't capture this magical moment properly.

To get to the tomb, take the Harrendorfer Straße from Axstedt westwards to Harrendorf. After passing two houses on the right, turn right into the Hünengräberweg. Follow this for about 450 m to the north. The tomb is then on the right side of the road under trees.

Visited June 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
7th December 2019ce

Bexhövede 1 (Chambered Tomb)

The tomb has a mound with a diameter of about 35 m and a height of 2 m. In it lies a northeast-southwest oriented burial chamber with a width of 2 m. Their length is not exactly determinable. The stones are still deep in the soil, so that no precise statement can be made about how many are still preserved. Well visible are two capstones. The southwestern has a length of 2.2 m, a width of 3.5 m and a thickness of 1.15 m. He rests on wall stones that protrude only little out of the ground. On the southeast side it seems to be one, on the northwest side apparently two. The northeastern capstone is still deep in the ground, so its exact dimensions can not be determined.

The southwestern capstone has two rows of drill holes due to the planned destruction of the tomb in 1840. However, this could be averted by the landowner of Hodenberg at the last minute.

To get to the tomb, take the road Lindenallee from Bexhövede to the southwest in the direction of Dünenfähr. Immediately at the village entrance, the road makes a slight right bend. Here, a dirt road on the left leads to a small private cemetery, which you bypass on the right. The tomb is located directly behind the cemetery.

About one kilometer east of Bexhövede 1 originally a second site was located in Steertmoor.

Visited June 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
7th December 2019ce

Langen (Geestland) (Chambered Tomb)

The megalithic tomb Langen (also called Ritzerberg) is a possible burial site of the Neolithic Funnel Beaker Culture, but it is not certain that the mounument, now located in Langen, is actually the remains of a megalithic grave. These were discovered in 1849, when the Ritzerberg was demolished. Here, most of the material was removed without documentation. In its present form, the site is only since the 1880s. At that time, the previously rolled-off capstone was put back on the support stones. One or two of the four remaining support stones were also placed at their current position at this time. The capstone has a few cups.

These site is situated under a group of trees surrounded by houses right in the city of Langen just north of Bremerhaven. The tomb has even its own street name Am Dolmen. But it is easier to find the site by driving on the Leher Landstraße from Langen northwards towards Sievern, the tomb is situated at the street number 75 on the right, behind a car park.

Visited June 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
7th December 2019ce
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