Geopark: Hulbjerg Passage Grave

Geopark: Hulbjerg Passage Grave

Søgårdsvej 10

5935 Bagenkop

Photo: Gitte Rahbek

En velbevaret stenaldergrav på Sydlangeland

Photo: Pia Bennike

Historisk fund i Hulbjerg Jættestue

Photo: Heidi Karlsen

Man finder Hulbjerg jættestue på Langelands sydlige spids

Hulbjerg Jættestue (Hulbjerg Passage Grave) is located at the southern tip of Langeland not far from the fishing village Bagenkop. It is situated notably high in the landscape on an outlier of the 15-m-high ‘hat-shaped hill’, Hulbjerg. To the east, the hill borders Søgårds Mose (Søgård Fen), the southernmost part of a former extensive Holocene fiord system which was reclaimed in 1853. The many barrows in the area reflect the previous landscape that was significantly wetter than it is today as many of the barrows were placed out toward the wetlands or along the coast.

A passage grave is a barrow from the period around 3,300 BC and is the last development in barrows, which had arrived in Denmark 500 years earlier. Passage graves are characterised not only by having one grave chamber but also an access to the chamber through a small corridor. The corridor meant that it was easier to close it, but specifically also to open the burial chamber again and again.

The passage grave at Hulbjerg contains the remains of upwards of 60 individuals as well as many finds of ancient artefacts that had been given to the dead for their journey.  In connection with a dig in 1960, it became evident that the burial chamber had been used frequently for burials. It was discovered that the bones and craniums had been gathered in piles to make room for new burials.

The dead included women and men, young and old. The most interesting skeletal find was a cranium showing signs of one of prehistory’s oldest examples of dental treatment. They had used a flint drill to perform a root canal, which surely must have been painful! But this cranium also shows that the deceased had recovered from the surgery before he died, as the cranium had healed around the hole.

Hulbjerg is located in a landscape containing upwards of 20 barrows, which is a lot for the area. Added to this are later barrows from the Bronze Age. Thus, the area is a so-called sacred landscape in which the barrows have been strong reminders of life after death.

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