Don’t get fooled by Skånes flat and mundane landscape. It certainly IS the place where magic happens – ancient stones might speak to you when you dare to listen. Especially here. At the southernmost tip of Sweden, where land meets endless sky and sea.
Ales Stenar is truly a remarkable megalithic monument. You can find it in Kåseberga, a couple of kilometres east from a charming little town of Ystad. The stone complex is located on a cliff overlooking my beloved Baltic Sea. It is 67 meters long, formed by 59 large boulders in a shape of an oval ship. Worth noting: stones at both ends are much larger than the rest. These rocks have been erected probably around the end of Nordic Iron Age, but neither me, nor my scientific sources, can be sure about the exact date of creation. Opinions in this matter vary greatly – from 5,000 BC to 10th century AD.
Ales Stenar has been used as a burial ground for centuries. Excavations performed on the site in 1989 verified this theory. Many clay pots with charred human bones have been found at that time, proving that the burial rituals were performed there for many, many centuries. Other archaeological findings include traces of bonfires and feasts.
But there is more! The specific placement of the boulders denotes that this construction has been used as a solar calendar too. Those bigger stones, that I’ve mentioned before, precisely mark the sun’s positions on the sky during Summer and Winter solstices. And those can be observed while standing on the flat stone in the middle of the circle during sunrises and sunsets, respectively.
The obvious multi functionality of this place is not a surprise to me, as ancient societies worshiped their ancestors, deities and nature in one sacred space. And as of this years Midsummer, thankfully this tradition is not over yet.
You can see more photos from this location in my Flickr album.