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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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

Sievern (Passage Grave)

The Bülzenbett is a passage grave with an approximately 8 × 4.7 meter chamber, with internal dimensions of about 2.0 to 2.5 × 6 meters with the three colossal capstones, one of which measures 4 × 3 meters. The middle capstone was blown up between 1604 and 1755, it still has a number of drill holes and is partially fallen into the interior of the chamber. The capstones are resting on nine support stones. A support stone on the southern long side is missing.

The Bülzenbett has a trapezoidal enclosure of about 35 m in length. Of their original 55 stones are still 33 available. Many are still in their original position, some were set up again during the restoration in 1970. They form an easterly rejuvenating trapeze measuring 8.5 by 6.5 by 35.5 meters.

In the middle of the 19th century, a small stone chamber was found within the enclosure, in which a hatchet and a flint dagger were found.

The capstones of the burial chamber of Bülzenbett should be among the largest capstones of all megalithic tombs in Germany. Even the two parts of the blasted middle capstone are still huge! A visit along with the nearby Pipinsburg and a hike on the archaeological trail is not only interesting because of the monuments lying along the way, but also very scenic!

To get to the tomb, take the L135 from Sievern northwards towards Holßel. After 750 m you come to a car park for the Pipinsburg on the right side.

Visited June 2019

taken from the on-site information board:

Megatilthic tomb "Bülzenbett"

The Bülzenbett is a megalithic tomb of the Neolithic Funnel Beaker Culture (2nd half 3rd millennium BC). The burial chamber consists of nine support stones (formerly 10) and three capstones.

The middle capstone was blown up and thereby partially fell into the interior of the burial chamber. The still recognizable drill holes indicate that it should be further crushed and then driven off. The date of the damage can be determined relatively accurately: on a copperplate engraving made by Wilhelm Dilich from 1604 the Bülzenbett is shown intact, in 1755 Martin Mushard illustrated the Bülzenbett with the damaged capstone, as can still be seen today.

When the archaeological preservation of the district in the summer of 1970 put the entire complex back in a state worth visiting, the enclosing stones of the trapezoidal enclosure (Hünenbett) were raised again.

Flögeln 2 (Passage Grave)

Flögeln 2 lies only about 15 meters away from Flögeln 1. Both sites were excavated in 1882 and 1898. The findings suggest the possible simultaneity of both graves. Despite their position (in a round hill and in a long barrow), in the basic construction they are the same.

The grave lies under a four meter high round mound, with a diameter of 29 meters. The burial chamber measures 5.8 meters in length and has a width of about two meters. It was built from ten support stones, on which five capstones rests. The entrance forms a short passage of two support and two capstones.

Unfortunately the tomb is closed with a gate. According to the information board you can borrow a key at the Museum Burg Bederkesa or at the Tourist Information in Bad Bederkesa.

To get to the tomb, you drive on the road Hohe Luft from Flügeln southwest to Fickmühlen. About halfway on the right hand side you will find the parking lot for the Prehistoric path Flögeln. From here, a short trail (about 120 m) leads sothwest (parallel to the road) first to the tomb Flögeln 2 and then to Flögeln 1.

Visited November 2019

taken from the on-site information board Prehistoric path Flögeln

Megalithic tomb of the Funnel Beaker Culture

The megalithic tomb, built from large boulders, was built during the Neolithic period during the so-called Funnel Beaker Culture (around 4200 - 2800 BC). The burial chamber consists of ten support and five capstones and is 5.8 m long and 2 m wide inside.
To the south there is access in the form of a short passage.

The grave was opened in 1882 by a Leher antiquarian collector. Inside, he found a hatchet, a "spearhead" made of flint, an ax as well as numerous ceramic finds, which are provided with the typical decoration of the pottery of the Funnel Beaker Culture.

The fully preserved chamber lies within a mound. In 1973, the grave was reopened by the archaeological preservation of the district of Cuxhaven and thereby created the funnel-like access. In the filled ground of the mound, remains of sod have been confirmed as building material. In addition, it was possible to prove a circular enclosure of boulders at the foot of the mound. Whether the mound was created with its enclosure at the same time as the central grave or in subsequent epochs, is not clear.

If you would like to enter the burial chamber, you can borrow a key at the Museum Burg Bederkesa or at the Tourist Information in Bad Bederkesa.
Here you have the rare opportunity to visit a fully preserved burial chamber. Inside, pay attention to the gaps between the large support stones filled with small stones. This dry masonry is no longer preserved at the second large stone tomb nearby.

Flögeln 1 (Passage Grave)

The megalithic tomb Flögeln 1 lies only about 15 meters away from Flögeln 2. Both sites were excavated in 1882 and 1898. The findings suggest the possible simultaneity of both graves. Despite their position (in a round hill and in a long barrow), in the basic construction they are the same.

The megalithic tomb was known for a long time and probably served as a "quarry" from the 17th century. The rectangular enclosure was 19 meters long and eight meters wide. Of the dense stones of the enclosure are still 17 available. The chamber has a length of 8.6 meters and is up to 1.7 meters wide. It consists of fourteen supporting and six capstones. Of the capstones four have been preserved, two more are blown up. The two meter long and 0.7 meter wide passage consists of four supporting and two capstones.

To get to the tomb, you drive on the road Hohe Luft from Flügeln southwest to Fickmühlen. About halfway on the right hand side you will find the parking lot for the Prehistoric path Flögeln. From here, a short trail (about 120 m) leads sothwest (parallel to the road) first to the tomb Flögeln 2 and then to Flögeln 1.

Highly recommended!

taken from the on-site information board Prehistoric path Flögeln

Megalithic tomb of the Funnel Beaker Culture

Only a few meters from the megalithic tomb in the round hill lies this second tomb from the Funnel Beaker Culture. 14 supporting stones and 6 capstones form an inside 8.6 m long and 1.7 m wide burial chamber. It is inserted in a 16 m wide and nearly 6 m wide square "bed" made of large boulders. The area between the enclosure and the burial chamber was originally filled with soil. A 2 m long and 0.7 m wide passage provided access to the tomb from the south.
The megalithic tomb served as a quarry in the 19th century. Numerous stones of the enclosure and two of the capstones of the burial chamber were blown up. The same doom happen that time also to some other megalithic tombs in the area.
During excavations in 1898 numerous ceramic fragments of vessels and various stone tools were found in the tomb.

In prehistoric times, these ancient graves were frequently visited and more deceased buried in the mounds. Also in this grave, fragments of urns made of ceramics, cremated remains and a "small roll made of bronze" suggest evidence of burials of the younger Bronze Age (about 1200 - 600 BC).

The present state of the tomb dates back to reconstructions in 1973 in the course of the creation of the prehistoric path.
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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: