In and around the small Swedish town of Falkoping there are at least 275 dolmens or hunebeds. You almost fall over them. It is a fascinating area. For many years the Hunebedcentrum in Borger has had a close working relationship with the archaeological museum in Falkoping. In this article I will introduce you to a number of hunebeds, the archaeological museum in Falkoping and the archaeological open air museum in the nearby town of Ekehagen.
Falkoping lies in the Falbygden region, a remarkable area with very old rock formations. Weathering of the rocks has resulted in the formation of a fertile valley which has since prehistory been home to a farming culture. It is the most northerly region of Europe in which megalithic monuments can still be found and therefore also the northern border of the hunebed builders or Funnel Beaker Culture.
Hunebeds in Falkoping
We begin our journey in the town of Falkoping. Here hunebeds are to be found in all sorts of places, such as in gardens, on roundabouts, in parks etc. Here are a few examples.
Hunebed in Falkoping park
Not far from Falkoping is an area known as Ekornavallen. It looks like a kind of prehistoric open air museum but in fact it is the real thing. For thousands of years men used this area to bury their dead. Here you will find monuments not only from the time of the hunebed builders, but also from the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.
The next stop on our journey is a group of hunebeds which includes hte largest in the entire area. This region is called Karleby. A whole series of hunebeds can be clearly seen, lying parallel to the highway. You can reach them by a small path.
Museum in Falkoping/the Falbygdens museum
Returning to Falkoping we shall visit the Falbygdens museum. This contains many of the unique objects found in the region. The collection is impressive as you can see from the photo’s below.
Ekehagen, a prehistoric open air museum
Our last destination is the prehistoric open air museum at Ekehagen. Here in a natural setting prehistory has been reconstructed, from the Stone Age up to and including the Iron Age. There are copies of all kinds of houses, boats, fields etc. Many school groups and other tourists come here to discover the distant past of Falkoping and to learn from it.
A holiday here is certainly worthwhile …
Text and photo’s by Harrie Wolters
Translation: Alun Harvey