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

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Steenodde - Esenhugh (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

300 m west of Steenodde lies the largest Bronze Age burial mound of the island of Amrum. Esenhugh is abound 4.7 m high and has a diameter of 26.5 m. The dolmen of Steenodde lies about 420 m to the south.
A viking burial ground with formerly 88 burial mounds lies close by.

To get to the burial mound drive of the road Stianoodswai towards Steenodde. At the point where the first property is located on the right, a narrow dirt road turns left at an archaeological information sign.

Esenhugh lies 170 m along this dirt road on the left.

Visited November 2019

taken from the on-site information board:

Burial mound Esenhugh and burial ground Steenodde

The burial mound Esenhugh is 4.70 m high and 26.50 m in diameter and one of the largest burial mounds of Amrum. His age is unknown, possibly it was already created in the Stone Age or the Bronze Age.
The burial ground of Steenodde consists of originally at least 88 burial mounds, which were excavated already in the last century. They date back to the Viking Age (10th-11th centuries) and are about 2,500 years younger than the Esenhugh. The dead were mostly burned and buried in urns.
Other burial mounds (from the Bronze Age 1500-1200 BC) are located in the area.

Steenodde - Esenhugh (Round Barrow(s)) — Images (click to view fullsize)

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Nebel 2 (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

The dolmen of Steenodde on the island of Amrum is located about 500 m southwest of the village, in a grove on the way Ual Hööw (High German "Alter Gottesdienst, in English "old worship service"). The megalithic tomb lies in a round hill of 4 m height with a diameter of 14 to 18 m. Ernst Sprockhoff listed the tomb as Nebel (Amrum) Grab 2 and assigned the number 12th. It is a rectangular dolmen with a passage and is oriented in northeast-southwestern direction. The visible stones are all in situ. On both long sides are each two support stones, a third support stone is on the southwestern narrow side. The chamber is closed by two capstones. On the other narrow side is half a support stone, in the gap is a threshold stone. The chamber inside is about 1.6 m × 0.9 m in size.

To get to the tomb drive of the road Stianoodswai towards Steenodde passing the famous Esenhugh burial mound on your left, until the road bends to the left. Turn right here into the small road Ual Hööw. The tomb lies opposite of the last property on the left, around 250 m after you enter the Ual Hööw road.

Visited November 2019

Nebel 2 (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Images

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Munkwolstrup (Megalithic Cemetery) — Links

Arnkiel-Park - Official Website

Magister Troels Arnkiel-Park archäologisch-landeskundlicher Park (Only in German)

Schuby 1/2 (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Dronninghoi (Danish: Dronning = queen høj = high so a rough translation might be Queens Hill) was used for a long period as a burial place. In the 19th century, Dronninghoi at 30 m in diameter was still 8-9 m high, today it measures only about 2 m in height.

The barrow was excavated in 1886 by W. Splieth.
The oldest tomb is a 2.7 m long Neolithic stone chamber (tomb C in the plan), grave goods can suggest on the Funnel Beaker Culture as builder of the tomb. West of the stone chamber, about in the middle of the hill, there was a tomb with a 1m thick cairn (Tomb E) and another cairn (D). To these tombs probably belongs a stone circle uncovered during the excavation, on the western edge of which two cup stones were found.

The other tombs are more recent. Worth mentioning here are especially the skeletons, which were found in grave B. In one of the skeletons, the skull was at the foot and confirmed the legend that in the burial mound a prince to be buried, the "Black Magret" (Margarette Samiria, the wife of the Danish King Christoph I) cut off the head in a duel by a list and defeated him.

If you plan to visit the site, you need strong nerves: The burial mound lies within a private property and the owner has placed a very kitschy ensemble of park bench, garden gnomes and solar lights in front of the burial mound (refer to my images).

Drive on the B201 through Schuby to the east. Shortly after a railway underpass, turn right into the road Schleswiger Straße. Turn right again and drive to the end of the street, the tomb lies within the garden of the last house on the left.

Visited November 2019

Schuby 1/2 (Round Barrow(s)) — Images

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Idstedt 1 (Passage Grave) — Fieldnotes

The Idstedter Räuberhöhle is a passage grave and one of the few megalithic tomb surviving in its original form in Schleswig-Holstein. The 4.4 m long, 1.5 m to 2 m wide and 1.50 m high chamber consists of 9 supporting and 3 capstones. The former 3.5 m long passage is only partially preserved. A stone lying in front of the mound could have been one of the capstones of the passage. The site is completely hidden except for the passage in the 2.5 m high round hill, with a diameter of 17 m.

From Schleswig drive north on the Flensburger Straße in the direction of Flensburg. Approximately 450 m after the junction to "Wilhelmslust" lies the tomb on the right side of the road, about 15 m in the forest.

Visited November 2019

taken from the on-site infromation board:

- Megalithic tomb "Idstedter Räuberhöhle" -

Tomb from the early Stone Age (passage grave); built about 2900-2600 BC. One of the few megalithic tomb from Schleswig-Holstein preserved in its original form.
A total of 9 support stones and 3 capstones, joints exposed with dry masonry; from the passage only 4 stones; length 4.30 m, width 1.80 m, height 1.50 m. Hill mantle of stones.
The builders of such tombs belonged to the so-called Funnel Beaker Culture. They were the first peasant population to cultivate agriculture and livestock.

Idstedt 1 (Passage Grave) — Images

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Harrislee 3 (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

Directly on the road Ellunder Weg and near the Danish border lies the extended dolmen Harrislee 3. Originally the site was located about 150 m further southeast. The chamber was found and uncovered at the excavation of the Rovhøj, a round hill about 37 meters in diameter and about 1.8 meters high. The dolmen was erected after the excavation at its present location. The long sides of the chamber, which is about two meters in size, consist of two pairs of supporting stones. At the north end is a strong end stone, opposite a half-high entry stone. There is only one capstone left, it carries numerous small cups.

To reach the tomb, drive west on the Ellunder Weg from Flensburg-Harrislee towards Ellund. After approx. 1.4 km the road Mühlenweg forks right, left forks the road Wiesenweg. Park here and find the tomb south of the road about 15 meters east of the crossroads, access is from the Ellunder Weg.

Visited November 2019

taken from the on-site information board:

Death sites of our ancestors

In front of us are boulders of a stone burial chamber, which were recovered from a burial mound about 200 m east in the Stiftungsland Schäferhaus. Archaeologists reconstructed the original position of the stones: The stone chamber was rectangular in plan. Their upright standing boulders were covered with a large rock slab. On one narrow side was an entrance through which the dead were brought into the chamber.
During the excavations of the burial mound "Rovhøj", the archeologists discovered pottery shards and tools made of fire and flint stone in this burial chamber. They were laid in the tomb together with the dead.

A look back:
After the ice age, the landscape in Schleswig-Holstein and Jutland was barren - the people lived from hunting and gathering. They followed the migration behavior of the hunting animals and the supply of plant food. This unsteady way of life is typical of the Paleolithic. In the period from about 8,000 BC the climate warmed up, and plants and animals thrived in Schleswig-Holstein. As a result of the improved Paleolithic diet, e.g. through hunting and fishing people were already relatively stationary. The epoch lasted until the end of the fifth millennium BC and is called Mesolithic.

With the Neolithic approximately 4.300 to 2.300 BC the sedentary lifestyle spread. Food was no longer just collected or hunted, but consciously produced. The people now cleared parts of the forest and farmed, kept livestock and lived in sturdy wooden houses.
The craftsmanship reached a climax (stone processing, weapons and tool making, pottery). Due to a special vessel shape, a section of this period is referred to as "funnel beaker culture".

From about the middle of the 4th millennium BC, the "funnel beaker people" built large burial mounds for their deceased with stone chambers, which they repeatedly occupied with funerals. These megalithic tombs were once found in thousands in northern Europe. There are two different types of megalithic chambers today: "Dolmen" (Breton stone table), with about 2 m² of interior space, or the larger "passage graves" with up to 12 m long burial chambers.
In the popular name "Hünengrab" (Hüne = giant) ideas are expressed that megalithic tombs were built by giants.

Harrislee 3 (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Images

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Caldener Erdwerk (Enclosure) — Fieldnotes

Only 100 m north of Calden II on the same track you'll find an information board for the Caldener Erdwerk. Four stone pillars mark the dimension of this impressive enclosure (470 x 390 m). Unique to such earthworks or enclosure was seven house like installations within the double ditch.

Unfortuantely there are no visibile traces of this once stunning site anymore.

To get to the site, use the directions of Calden II and simply walk further 100 m along the track.

Visited November 2019

taken from the on-site information board Eco Pfad Archäologie Calden:

The Neolithic earthwork Calden

On this area between the Kassel-Calden airport in the north and the forest in the south, the darkly colored traces of a double ditch were discovered in 1976 through aerial photographs. Archaeological excavations (1988 - 1992) confirmed that it is a Neolithic earthwork. It was built around 3700 BC.
Since 2006, four newly built stone steles (see plan, sign o) mark the extent of the earthwork.

Construction of the earthwork
The double ditch has an extension of 470 x 390 m. The excavated earth was probably piled up before, between and behind the ditches to ramparts. On the inside of the earthwork was a double palisade fence, the interior of which was probably also filled with excavated earth so that a person could look over the palisades.

The ditch work is interrupted in seven places. Here foundations of wooden, house-like installations were found. Each installation consisted of two rooms to be entered from the inside and the outside of the earthwork. The size and construction of the wooden fixtures are so far unique in European history.
Inside the earthwork, there were no development remnants or other settlement activities (such as hearths), but a younger urnfield grave of the Hallstatt period (around 800 BC).

Settlement or sanctuary?
The builders of Calden's earthwork were farmers of the surrounding villages. The complex building structure suggests a central organization, which had to take care of planning, material procurement and the supply of the numerous workers.

The earthwork was probably on a trade route between Fritzlar Bucht and the Warbuger Börde, where sites of the same age were discovered. The function of earthworks is not always clear. Depending on the state of research, an interpretation in the secular field is possible, such as marketplace, settlement, meeting place or refuge.

The interpretation of the earthwork of Calden refers to the religious area as a sanctuary or place of worship: The finds found in the ditches such as animal bones, deer antlers and human bones point to ritual, religious acts. Even later, when the piles and palisades had long since passed, people used the earthworks or its ditches. Intermittent use lasted from the 37th to the 19th century BC. That means 1800 years!

Calden II (Allee-Couverte) — Fieldnotes

Calden II lies immediately south of the Caldener Erdwerk, about 100 meters outside the double ditch. The grave was cut in 1969 when laying a water pipe, but interpreted as a ruined burial mound and not further investigated. Therefore, the grave was excavated only in the context of the excavations at the Caldener Erdwerk in 1990 - 1992.

The gallery grave is oriented southwest-northeast, with access to the northeast. The outer length is 11.9 m, the maximum width 3.8 m and consisted of 18 wall stones (eight pairs of supporting stones and one endstone each). The height of the chamber was about 1.4 m in the access area and 1.05 m in the back. As with Calden I and Züschen I, the endstone in the entrance area was a probably a soul hole. The number of capstones can only be estimated, it is believed that there were seven. The gaps between the wall stones were filled with dry masonry.

The easiest way to get to the tomb is to park either at the Calden Waldschwimmbad (forest swimming pool) or at the Lindenrondell at the end of the Lindenallee. From here, take the forest road to the west. At an intersection (on your right is a field), continue straight ahead on the main path that leads northwest now. After approx. 300 m you exit the forest and continue on the path along the edge of the forest (left). After 150 m, the trail turns west again and after another 625 m you reach another crossroads. Here you take the path to the right and after 90 m you reach the tomb, which is on the left of the path. The Caldener Erdwerk is just 100 meters further north along the same track.

Visited November 2019

Calden II (Allee-Couverte) — Links

Das Galeriegrab Calden II @ Journal of Neolithic Archaeology

Completely excavated between 1990 and 1992, the Calden II gallery grave offers, despite being largely damaged, detailed information on its construction principles. Foundation trenches for the sidestones and the grave floor had been dug into the limestone close to the surface. Architecture and ritual correspond to grave I 1 km distant, but finds and radiocarbon dating suggest a close connection with the re-use (phase B) of the nearby enclosure (c. 3200 - 3000 BC). Traces of cremations between the bones of the regular burials indicate the existence of different funeral rites. The "de-construction" of the grave in the course of ritual activities is well illustrated by the removal of a sidestone and the deposition of a sheep in the Middle Bronze Age.

Calden II (Allee-Couverte) — Fieldnotes

taken from the on-site information board Eco Pfad Archäologie Calden:

In addition to the Caldener earthwork, two so-called gallery graves (also passage graves or stone chamber graves) were discovered in Calden and archaeologically examined.

Tomb I is located in close proximity to the outskirts and was investigated in 1948.
Tomb II is located about 100 meters south of the earthworks along the wayside towards the forest. It was fully investigated in 1990 - 92.

Tomb I was built in the 34th century BC and used for 200 years as a place of burial.
Tomb II followed in the 32th century BC in the same construction with an occupancy until the 29th century BC.

Both tombs consist of paired wall stones, an endstone and a - presumed - soul hole stone in the entrance area. Capstones were also used as coverings that lay on the wall stones. They are made of quartzite and come from the immediate area. The interstices in the walls were sealed in drywall technique. The tombs were probably covered with a mound. The dimensions of the graves can be reconstructed at 12.60 m (grave I) or 11.70 m; the interior was about 2 meters wide. The ceiling height in the entrance area was approximately 1.40 m. Due to the rising ground of the grave, it was only possible to crawl in the back of the burial chamber.

Gallery graves were the burial place of a whole community. Also in the Calden graves were numerous skeletons and their remains. The original number of those buried here is extrapolated to 100-200 (tomb I) or over 200.

Examination of the bones revealed that infants as well as adults of all ages were buried here. The bone features indicate a hard-working peasant society with an average life expectancy of 30 to 40 years.

The survivors pushed the dead through the "soul hole", a circular, knocked out of the stone opening in the tomb entrance. Inside the tomb, they placed their heads in the direction of the entrance. The dead person did not receive any burial except for his personal belongings, such as a chain of animal teeth or a blade of flint stone. Food and drink offerings were deposited by the survivors in the entrance area outside the burial chamber. Broken drums of clay are mute witnesses of a death suit.
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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.

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