Hidden labyrinths in Denmark, dating back to the Stone Age.

Science Nordic reports on the mysteries of enormous Stone-Age circles found in Denmark:

One of the latest additions is a huge construction, discovered by archaeologists from the Museum Southeast Denmark. The fence dates from the Neolithic period and seems to frame an oval area of nearly 18,000 square meters.

One of the most remarkable things about the fencing at Stevns is the way the entrances have been constructed. The fence is in fact built in five rows that extend outwards, and the opening in each row appears to be offset from the others.

[Archaeologist Pernille Rohde] Sloth suspects the uneven design was deliberate.

“The openings don’t seem to sit next to each of the post rows, and we’re slightly amazed by that. But maybe it functioned as a sort of labyrinth–at least that’s how we imagine it. That way you weren’t able to look inside the common space, which may have been an advantage,” she says.

“A palisade construction is typically built for protection, but we don’t think that that is what the construction at Stevns is. The rows of poles would have been around two metres high and weren’t very close together, so you could probably squeeze through them if you wanted to. We believe that it was some kind of fenced gathering area, but it’s difficult to say what it was used for,” says Sloth.

The archaeologists have not been able to excavate the whole area. The excavation is happening alongside the construction of a new sports hall and there could be many secrets hidden away in this unexplored area.

A similar temple was discovered elsewhere on the island. It may be that these sun temples only exist on Bornholm, but head archaeologist at the Bornholm Museum, Finn Ole Sonne Nielsen, does not rule out that the enclosure at Stevns could contain similar finds.

“It could well have had a ritual purpose. What’s really exciting about this place is whether [they] find something else in the enclosure similar to our Bornholm discoveries. It would not surprise me if it was a temple area. It would have enclosed something and I think that these temples were much more widespread than we tend to believe,” says Nielsen.

Sloth is still waiting for precise dates on the Stevns site, but some of the scraps of broken pottery found on site suggest that it could date to the latter part of the Middle Neolithic Funnel Beaker Culture from 2900 BCE to 2800 BCE. The Bornholm sites are even older.

[via Archaeological News]