A Swedish Stonehenge was recently unearthed on the cliffs near a Viking-era ship monument, CBS News is reporting. Scientists discovered the ancient tomb hanging out near the Ales Stenar (Ale’s Stones), a collection of 59 large boulders arranged in the shape of a boat. Some of the giant stones used to construct the monument may have once belonged to the ancient structure it rests above.
Scientists became suspicious of the area after discovering peculiar markings on the Ales Stenar megaliths. Investigator theorized that perhaps the stones had been stolen from ancient tombs or structures to create the Viking monument. After scanning the site using radar and magnetic sensors, investigators discovered a large circular structure with a rectangular center located beneath the Ales Stenar.
Once a small hole had been dug in the middle of the monument, scientists discovered large imprints of the giant boulders which once called the area home. One popular theory is that the cliffs were once the location of a dolmen, which Wikipedia describes as “consisting of three or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal capstone.” Most of these ancient tombs were constructed during the Neolithic period.
“We found traces — mostly imprints — of large boulders,” lead archaeologist Bengst Soderberg explained to LiveScience. “So my conviction is that some of the stones at least, they are standing on the ship setting. All of the stones had been taken away. And I would say, most probably they are standing 40 meters away from the dolmen where the ship setting is situated.”
Scientists stated that the dolmen in question could be over 5,500 years ago. However, before a proper theory can be fashioned, researchers are anxious to collect material from the tomb’s outer ring. Presently, its purpose is unknown.
The Swedish Stonehenge is not unlike the popular monument located in the county of Wiltshire. Mike Parker Pearson, head of the Stonehenge Riverside Project, believes the famous English structure was originally designed as a burial site.
“The cremation burial dating to Stonehenge’s sarsen stones phase is likely just one of many from this later period of the monument’s use and demonstrates that it was still very much a domain of the dead,” Pearson explained.
If Bengst Soderberg’s data is correct, then the Swedish Stonehenge might be older than its English counterpart.