Hunebeds in Falkoping, Sweden

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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

Hunebed in Falkoping Park
Hunebed in Falkoping Park

Hunebed in a Falkoping garden
Hunebed on a roundabout in Falkoping

Ekornavallen

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.

Hunebed in Ekornavallen
Entrance to a hunebed in Ekornavallen
Top side of a hunebed in Ekornavallen. The hunebeds here are not built with round erratic boulders but from stones found locally.
Bronze Age burial mound made from a pile of loose stones

Karleby

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.

Sign by the hunebeds in Karleby
A small path leads to the largest hunebed in the area.
The largest hunebed of the Falbygden valley near Karleby

View from the largest hunebed. The other hunebeds can be seen in the distance.
One of the hunebeds along the road near Karleby
One of the hunebeds in Karleby
In Falkoping hunebeds are filled with small stones to prevent illegal excavations and to prevent people crawling inside them.

Museum in Falkoping/the Falbygdens museum

Falbygden Museum in Falkoping

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.

The skull of a hunebed builder found in one of the hunebeds.
A flute made from the bone of a sheep
The skeleton of a dog, one of the oldest found in Europe
Almost every hunebed contained a layer of bone material from hunebed builders. In the Netherlands that has sadly all disappeared but here, because of the unique condition of the ground, the bone material has been preserved. Extensive research has been done, including DNA tests, diseases in earlier times etc.
The Raspberry Girl. This girl was sacrificed in a lake during the Stone Age. The content of her stomach was well preserved, and it was full of raspberries.
Many similar beautiful sacrificial axes were found.
Beautiful artefacts made of flint.
And much, much more …

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.

 

Prehistoric open air museum at Ekehagen.
Stone Age house
Inside the Stone Age house
A fish is prepared for us in the prehistoric way.

A holiday here is certainly worthwhile …

Text and photo’s by Harrie Wolters

Translation: Alun Harvey

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