In 2011 the Hunebed Centre played host to a delegation from the community of Odsherred in Denmark. They were interested in learning more about how the Hondsrug had acquired Geopark status as they also wanted to become a Geopark. In 2014 Odsherred successfully achieved that status and became the first geopark in Denmark. The area has much in common with the Hondsrug region: the landscape was formed by the Ice Ages, there are many erratic boulders scattered around and they even have quite a number of hunebeds.

Map of Denmark with Odsherred marked in red.
Odsherred, the red dots show the locations of the hunebeds we visited

Odsherred also has another connection with the Hunebed Centre. Because of the number of hunebeds in the area, Odsherred is also a member of the international network of Megalithic Routes. In that capacity it was the turn of Odsherred to organise and host the annual conference of network members in May 2016. And that was reason enough for Hein Klompmaker and myself to take the opportunity of visiting some of their hunebeds.

We were immediately impressed by the very first one we visited. This was carefully restored in 2003 and looks magnificent. As you can see from the photos, it shows how a complete hunebed might originally have looked. What is striking is that the covering mound is completely round. You see that also at many other hunebeds in the area which have not yet been restored. I asked the archaeologist at the site if that was always the case because in the Netherlands it is often said that the lintels stuck out above the mound. The archaeologist explained that a hunebed was wind- and water-proof and this would only have been possible if the mound was created from layers of different materials. Indeed some hunebeds have been found to contain a drainage system made of birch tree bark. Which makes them miracles of architectural design!

If the capstones had stuck out of the mound, as previously believed in the Netherlands, it would have been almost impossible for the hunebed to have been wind- and waterproof. Wherever the stones stuck out, water would have leaked in. So that is something else we’ve learned!

The completely restored hunebed at Borkehoj to the north of Hojby
Splendidly restored entrance
It is possible to enter the hunebed
Inside the hunebed
New information panel at the hunebed
Signpost to the next hunebed
The area contains several unexcavated hunebeds. The entrance is hidden somewhere under the mound and is not visible
The hunebed is surrounded by fields where artefacts can often be found. Hein Klompmaker tries his luck!
An artefact? Probably not?
The third hunebed we visited, called Troldstuerne
Reconstruction of pottery found in this hunebed
One of two entrances in this hunebed. Behind each entrance is a burial chamber
Hein Klompmaker by the second entrance.
Harrie Wolters by the second entrance. It is possible to crawl inside the burial chamber, but we didn’t try!

Text Harrie Wolters

Translation Alun Harvey

Vorig artikelPaardenbloemsiroop
Volgend artikelDolmens in Antequera, Spain
Harrie Wolters is algemeen directeur van het Hunebedcentrum.

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