A Litttle Piece of Germany

Deciding I needed a break from the strains of work I headed off to Germany to stay with a family friend in Marburg. A quick web search identified two sites in the area that appeared to be must-sees.


fig. 1 : The shed that protects Züschen

The first is a gallery grave just outside of the village of Züschen at Long/Lat 51º 10' 23.3" N, 9º 14' 36.0" E. The style of its construction is very similar to the French Alles Couvert that can be found in the Paris Basin. After excavation an open sided shed was erected over it to protect it from the elements (see fig. 1). Once you could get the keys to the enclosure, but these are no longer handed out due to people mistreating the site.


fig. 2 : The gallery

Not to worry. The barred sides of the shed allow you to get a very good view of all many features that this site has to offer. The gallery is over 15m long and set into the ground. The entrance is marked by a blocking stone with a round port-hole cut through it (see fig. 2). This construction alone would make it worth visiting, but Züschen has one more trick up its sleeve - carvings.


fig. 3 : The carvings inside the gallery

There are many carvings on the orthostats of the gallery. These are mainly Y-shaped motifs that have been interpreted as bulls heads (see fig. 3).


fig. 4 : Zig-zag motif on the backstone

The inner face of the doorslab has more examples of the Y-motif and a water-like zig-zag pattern. The backstone has further zig-zag pattern and a herring bone motif (see fig. 4).

There is a good information board in the shed, but this is (unsurprisingly) in German.


fig. 5 : Langenstein standing stone

The second site of the day was an enormous standing stone in the village of Langenstein (trans. Long Stone) at Long/Lat 50º 49' 54.9" N, 8º 57' 40.5". This 4m tall monster is now built into the wall surrounding the pretty little church (see fig. 5).

A barrow is essentially a mound of earth over one or more burials. They are more usually to be dated to the Bronze Age. There are many forms of barrow including ring, bowl, long and bell barrows.

Ring barrows are formed by digging a circular trench or fosse around a central burial, with no mound.

Bowl barrows are formed by heaping up soil over the burial(s) from a surrounding fosse, these often have an external bank too (see Ballyremon Commons (County Wicklow)).

Bell barows are simply round mounds with no fosse or external bank.

Long barrows are rare in Ireland and are more common in southwest England. Their shape is basically ovoid rather than round (see Ballynoe (County Down))

 

 

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