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The European Day of Megalithic Culture

From 2013 Megalithic Routes promotes an international Day of Megalithic Culture. From 2014 this day is always the last Sunday in April. On this day there will be events in our member regions, celebrating the topic of megalithic culture and their manifestations. Most of the events are contributions to a special theme, which changes from year to year. The following list gives you an overview about the themes since 2013:

  • 2013 Myths and Legends
  • 2014 Megalithic Routes by Bicycle
  • 2015 Megalithic Sites as Outdoor Classrooms
  • 2016 Megaliths and Art
  • 2017 Moving Stones
  • 2018 Hiking Tours
  • 2019 Voluntary Working Groups
  • 2020 The Origin of the Stones

European Day of Megalithic Culture 2019

28. April 2019: European Day of Megalithic Culture 2019

The Commission for Westphalian Antiquities invites to the 5th Day of Megalithic Culture in Westphalia

This year’s focus is on the passage grave in Lengerich-Wechte (An der Papiermühle 12). A reconstructed megalithic tomb from Late-Neolithic times in Westphalia. The monument is a good example for today’s reception of the more than 5.000 years old history in modern cultural memory and is therefore the best place to host the fifth Day of Megalithic Culture in Westphalia.

From 10:00 to 17:00 the Commission for Westphalian Antiquities and its partners will welcome all visitors with a varied program. Visitors not only hear new and interesting facts about the grave but also can be productive by themselves. With archaeologist Dr. Claudia Siemann the visitors can make neolithic pottery like it was found in the grave, while the Commission for Westphalian Antiquities offers the chance to produce own Stone Age jewelry, also found in the grave in Lengerich-Wechte. At 14:00 the World Café of the University of Münster opens. Dr. Wilhelm Bauhus and his team invite all visitors to be part in a relaxed round with discussions, coffee and cake.

In addition to these activities, the archaeologists of the Commission of Westphalian Antiquities will answer questions about the megalithic past and how it is possible to know that much about those long gone times. Dr. Kerstin Schierhold and Dr. Bernhard Stapel compiled several news about the grave and will provide detailed information in guided tours at 10.30, 13:30 and 16:00. The archaeologists will be supported by Dr. Tobias Fischer, geologist of the TERRA.vita Nature Park, who can refer to the geological origin of the big stones. For the first time there will be guided tours also for children. Archaeologist Catrin Becker and the kids will explore the grave at 11.00 and 14:00 and will find out how the people who are buried in this place lived 5.000 years ago.

At their info stall the Commission for Westphalian Antiquities presents a movie with a 3D-view of the passage grave on which expert Leo Klinke can show how modern technologies are used in archaeology and be a base for future researches.

The entrance is free!

More information:

International Day of Megalithic Culture, April 28, 2019: Megaliths in Schleswig-Holstein

On April 28, 2019, ‘The European Day of Megalithic Culture’ will take place for the seventh time.

What are megaliths?

Already the term “megalith” has a mystic allure. It is derived from the Greek terms μέγας or mégas (Engl. “large”) and λίθος or líthos (Engl. “stone”), and is used for a variety of Neolithic cultic and sepulchral monuments. It is a global phenomenon. Such monuments appear archaic in the modern landscape and have been part of past and contemporary commemorative culture.

Around 5000 BC impressive megaliths appear as a pan-European tradition, with the first monuments in Brittany and the Iberian Peninsula. The megaliths in the northern part of Central Europe date into the Neolithic between 4800 and 2500 BC. This makes them the oldest built remains in Central Europe. In Schleswig-Holstein the megalithic tomb is the most common monument, which is distinguished into different types based on their construction. The oldest type seems to be the so-called dolmen, a younger type the passage tomb. These are tombs, in which the passage is connected transversely or diagonally to the burial chamber. Dolmen or passage tombs can either be covered by oblong or circular mounds, which base is comprised by stones. These are part of the so-called Funnel Beaker Culture, which is regarded as the first peasant society in northern Europe and erected its megaliths mainly in the period between 3650 and 3100 BC, thus before the first pyramids were built in Egypt.

The Project

In 2013, the “European Route of Megalithic Culture” was recognised as Cultural Route by the Council of Europe and since then the members of Megalithic Routes have been holding this international day of Megalithic Culture. In Schleswig-Holstein so far only the “Steinzeitpark Dithmarschen” (Stone Age Park Dithmarschen) is member of the international association “Megalithic Routes e. V.”, which advocates the preservation, care and presentation of megaliths throughout Europe. Against this background and the European Cultural Heritage Year 2018 +1 under the context “Sharing Heritage”, the State Archaeology Department of Schleswig-Holstein (ALSH) and the Stone Age Park Dithmarschen used the chance to jointly initiate a project in September last year for the valorisation of European routes of the megalithic culture and its archaeological legacy in Schleswig-Holstein.Thus, in 2019, the European Day of Megalithic Culture in Schleswig-Holstein will be duly celebrated. Further information are available on:

The European Day of Megalithic Culture

This year’s motto of this day of action is “Voluntary Working Groups”. On this day, various non-profit groups, organizations and associations offer events and activities at various megalithic sites in Schleswig-Holstein, which are accessible to visitors and tourists. The aim is the promotion of megalithic monuments as significant and visible testimonies in stone of thousands of years of history.

The European Day of Megalithic Culture in Schleswig-Holstein is funded by the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the media (BKM) in the context of the European Heritage Year 2018 + 1 under the motto “Sharing Heritage”.

Today, all known and unknown megaliths are protected against destruction by the Monument Protection Law. However, to preserve the archaeological heritage in the long term, it always needs the support of the people. Large stone tombs such as the Denghoog on Sylt, the Brutkamp in Dithmarschen, the reconstructed megalithic tomb of Karlsminde or the Arnkiel-Park of Munkwolstrup are supported by volunteer commitment, and thus also preserved. Visit the nearest megalithic site in your area!

European Day of Megalithic Culture 2018

Tag der MegalithikThe Commission for Westphalian Antiquities invites to the 4th Day of Megalithic Culture in Westphalia

Walking into the past: Hiking at the Düwelsteene

The passage grave “Düwelsteene” near Heiden is one of the well-preserved megalithic tombs from Late Neolithic times in Westphalia. The monument, more than 5000 years old, is today one of the landmarks of the municipality of Heiden. It is located on a well-known hiking route and is therefore the best place to host the fourth Day of Megalithic Culture in Westphalia. This year’s focus is on hiking to and around megaliths. Under this common theme, the partners of the European Cultural Route "European Route of Megalithic Culture" are participating with many actions all over Europe.

At the Düwelsteene, a varied program is offered to the visitors from 10.00-17.00. Visitors not only hear new and interesting facts about the long-known grave, but can also experience the flourishing nature in the “Hohe Mark-Westmünsterland” Nature Park with a hike of ca. 13 km, guided by the “Westfälischer Heimatbund”. Meeting point is at 9.00 at the church St. Georg in Heiden. You can also explore a shorter alternative route directly from the Düwelsteene on your own.

Prehistoric wheels and cars are models for your own self-made clay souvenirs which can be taken home. There are no limits to creativity in the painting competition either: Two main prizes (under and over 10 years of age) will be awarded to the most beautiful and original presentation of the Düwelsteene. At 14:00 the World Café of the University of Münster opens: A "bio-inspired tour" of the Düwelsteene invites you to look not only into the past but also into the future of the Düwelsteene and its immediate surroundings, having a relaxed round of coffee and cake discussions. Own ideas and suggestions are very welcome! The Ruhr Museum Essen offers insights into the exciting documentary history of the grave and offers the production of jewellery from shells, which was "in" even in the Neolithic Age and can of course be taken home.

In addition to these activities, the archaeologists of the Commission of Westphalian Antiquities will answer questions about the megalithic past and provide detailed information in guided tours at 11:00, 12:30 and 16:00. In addition, a 3D film shows how it will be possible to immerse oneself in the now unknown past of the Düwelsteene: with the help of modern software, the grave can be virtually restored to its original state at the time of its construction. However, this also requires the help of interested citizens! Information on why and how exactly this works can be found at the film screening.

The municipality of Heiden and the “Heimatverein” provide information on their activities. The Ruhr Museum Essen (registration required under 0201/24681-444) offers a free excursion with meeting point at the Düwelsteene. The KULT Westmünsterland in Vreden has arranged a bus transfer for its excursion: Start is at 11.00 at the bus station in Vreden, return around 15.00, costs: 10 EUR.

More information:

Seró Espai Transmissor/Spain

Moving Stones 2017

30 April 2017 marks the 4th European Day of Megalithic Culture. Highlight of the Megalithic Routes Association, our members show off their megaliths in different regions in Europe. We celebrate Megalithic cultures in many aspects. This year, the theme is “moving stones”. We still do not know how Stone Age people moved the large boulders which were deposited here by the Ice Age glaciers about 200,000 years ago. If it were not the Old Huns or the Devil, how did people back in the past really move these stones?

An example is the small village Jeggen, Bissendorf Municipality, Germany. This is the location of a megalithic monument of over 5,000 years old. Under the phrase “moving stones” a large rock of about 2.5 tons will be moved on 30 April with the help of school children. Besides moving stones, there will be a Stone Age Festival for children and families. There will be a Stone Age Snack corner and many activities one can take part in at no costs. Please see the PDF flyer from Jeggen 2017 European Day of Megalithic Culture.

At  the Day of Megalithic Culture, Sobrarbe-Pirineos UNESCO World Geopark in Spain organizes a tour guided by the "Three Dólmenes Route", in the municipal terms of Aínsa-Sobrarbe and Bárcabo. The entire route runs through a doubly protected space, as it is part of the Sierra and Guara Canyons Natural Park, and the Rio Vero Cultural Park. Nearby is the exceptional Rock Art collection of the Rio Vero Canyon, declared World Heritage by UNESCO. The route allows to visit three megalithic monuments: Dolmen of the Balanzas or of Almazorre, Dolmen of the Capilleta and Dolmen of Pueyoril. The activity will consist of a guided tour and interpreted by Nacho Pardinilla Bentué, Heritage Technician of the Region of Sobrarbe. Departure point: parking located next to the information point of the Natural Park of Sierra and Canyons of Guara, a few meters from the deviation to Paúles de Sarsa, on the A-2205 road (between Arcusa and Bárcabo). Staring at 9:30h, total duration of the activity; 4h 30 min. Length of the route: approximately 10 km in total.Type of route: circular. It transits by roads and some stretch of path somewhat stony. Difficulty: low. Recommended age: from 10 years, taking into account the length of the route and the type of road.The activity is free. Recommendations: it is necessary to bring mountain shoes, sun protection, water and some food.

Registration through the official website. Please see also the PDF flyer.

The Archaeological-Ecological Centre at Albersdorf (Germany) celebrates the 4th European Day of Megalithic Culture under the header of mobility and transport in the Stone Age. On Sunday 30 April the centre organises special guided tours about megaliths and how people moved these stones (14:00h and 15:00h). There is also a workshop making jewellery form the Times of the Megalithic Builders (11:00h – 17:00h). The Stone Age farmer will discuss about mobility and transport in the Neolithic Era (11:00h – 17:00h). The Stone Age hunter will be active this day and observe the farmers from a distance… Besides this, there is a new map for people wanting to walk, made with help of AktivRegion Dithmarschen. This map shows the megalithic graves in the Albersdorf Region and is available on this day for the first time, and free, at the service building of the Albersdorf Archaeological-Ecological Centre.

The Altertumskommission for Westphalia invites to the 4th European Day of Megalithic Culture: "Moving Stones" at the Grosse Sloopsteene in Lotte-Wersen (close to Osnabrück, Germany) on Sunday 30 April 2017, 10:00h - 17:00h. The event is in cooperation with Kultur- & Heimatverein Westerkappeln e.V.  and the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster. See the PDF flyer from 2017 event.

The European Day of Megalithic Culture will be celebrated in Denmark too. Too be more precise, an event will take place at the passage grave Månehøj, Svinøvester, 4750 Lundby (DK). The Association Denmark’s Megalitcenter will not make practical move exercises to lift and move boulders. In return, they ask the question: How could people for over 5000 years since moving boulders weighing 5 to 10 tonnes from a field - transport them 20 km over rivers - and then they got the stones dragged up on a hill and built megalithic monuments? On Sunday, April 30 we will visit a double the passage grave Månehøj in Svinøvester. The two burial chambers with each entry were constructed 5200 years ago. The Association Denmark’s Megalitcenter invites members and interested to bring coffee along and enjoy the beautiful area. Everyone is welcome. 

On the Eve of Valborg Mass Falbygdens museum in Sweden joins the international Megalithic Day. Together with colleagues from all over Europe we show our common Stone Age Culture. Discover Falköping from 5000 years ago! Discover the Stone Age in the middle of Falköping. Start at the Falbygden Museum for a hiking trail between 11:00h and 15:00h. A guided tour to some of the city's archaeological remains starts at the Falbygden Museum at 12:00h. Calculate the weight of the stones or try to move the stone in Stone Age ways. We offer fruit soup to all fighters! Starting at the Kyrkerörsgånggriften i Plantis, 11:00h – 15:00h. Do not miss the traditional spring speech at Plantis at 15:00h! Free entrance. Warm welcome!

The European Day of Megalithic Culture will be celebrated in Portugal through an initiative of the Portugal Megalithic Project, an online community platform for the disclosure of the megalithic heritage in Portugal. The program of activities takes place simultaneously with the 1st Meeting of the project and includes guided tours to some of the megalithic monuments of Pavia (including the interesting Dolmen / Chapel of S. Dinis) and also to the new Interactive Megalithic Museum of Mora. The Portugal Megalitico community has its activities based in a Facebook page and also in a Google Map where they are locating the most important megalithic monuments in Portugal.

The European Day of Megalithic Culture is celebrated at the Hunebedcentrum in Borger (the Netherlands) as well. The Hunebedcentrum developed a programme in cooperation with students by the title “the Megalithic Games”. Visitors can follow a track with different prehistoric activities including throwing spears and shooting with bow and arrow. An attempt will also be made to transport a megalith. The activities take place between 11:00h and 16:00h at the Hunebedcentrum in Borger (NL).

In Catalonia, Spain, the Rutes Megalítiques de la Costa Brava organises two hiking tours and an exhibition to celebrate European day of Megalithic Culture. 
Their first hiking tour is about the megalithic culture at Les Gavarres: la Serra d'en Calç and starts on Sunday 30 April at 9:30h at the BP gas station of Vulpellac. Please register by phoning (+34) 972 64 36 95. Taking part is free. Main organiser is Consorci de Gavarres. 
The second hiking tour follows the Megalithic Route d'Ardenya-Cadiretes. It starts on Sunday at 9:30h from al Santuari de Sant Grau d'Ardenya and takes 4:30h. Guide is Josep Santané. Registration please by email through or by phone between 9:00h and 13:00h through (+34) 972342847 or (+34) 609173746. Costs are 6 EUR. Organsier is Àrea de Medi Ambient de l'Ajuntament de Tossa de Mar. 
Finally, there is a Photo exhibition on megalithism in the Catalan Pyrenees or more precise about the megalithic landscape of l'Alt Empordà”, photos by Jordi Meli. The exhibition runs from 21 April to 21 May 2017 in Porxos de Can Laporta, La Jonquera. Opening times are 10:30h – 13:30h and 17:00h – 20:00h. It is organised by Consell Comarcal de l'Alt Empordà i Ajuntament de La Jonquera.

Photo: Jordi Meli. 

The Danish Agency for Culture and Castles, in collaboration with Danish Radio's great historical initiative "Danish Histories", invites you to the Celebration Day of Prehistoric Monuments in the whole country. See more here: Vestsjælland Museum offers a guided walk among visible and almost invisible past memories and cultural trails in the spring green forest of Broby Vesterskov. The tour is about 6 km long, taking about 2.5 – 3 hrs. Come and hear the story of one of Denmark's most beautiful graveyards. Rævehøj is a conquest of the ages, and one of the kind. In the tomb one can fully stand up and admire a magnificent example of stone architecture from ancient times. The grave chamber also presents art on the walls in the form of carvings as a greeting from the people of the Bronze Age. In the Asnæs forests of Kalundborg one will find an unusually high concentration of burial mounds, probably all from the younger bronze ages. After grubbing-up, they now appear as beautiful focal points on a hike in beautiful nature. More info:


Below other images from European Day of Megalithic Culture: