Sunday, August 07, 2011

SWEDEN Ales Stenar

Gustav and Munson stenar

While I’ve been visiting various towns around western Skåne during Gustav’s work days, there was a place over to the east we’d discussed even before I’d left for Sweden. That was Ales Stenar. I knew roughly where to find it, but there are no signs on any of the roads or markers on the GPS map to what is one of Sweden’s major archaeological sites.

We set off in the direction of Ystad, an area I knew as the landscape of the Wallander mystery thrillers by Henning Mankell, particularly through Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of the main character in the BBC adaptations. There were no signs for our destination leading from there, so I probed around on the maps on my phone and set course for the coastal village of Kåseberga, a little to the north. Finally, after turning off the main road and getting 99.9% of the way there, a sign announced that we were close to Ales Stenar.

After parking in a huge but still rather packed parking lot, we walked through the little village of Kåseberga. It made me think not so much of Wallander but that I was on the set of Midskåne Murders.

Ales Stenar with lots of French tourists
Some fifteen minutes later we reached the megalithic site that is Ales Stenar – about sixty sandstone boulders arranged in the outline of a ship. It is believed to date from about the 7th century and be the burial site of a King Ale. The arrangement of the stones has some astronomical time-keeping significance.
Ales Stenar calendar
Ales Stenar Smörknivar: before the days of sporks

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