The origin of the term "Hünengrab", which is still common in northwest Germany today, probably lies in the Emsland region because this is the home of the famous Universalist Johan Picardt. In 1660 he published his theses of the "cruel and bar-baric giants, Hünen or collossi" as the builders of the megalithic graves. But some courageous people who armed themselves with heavy wooden clubs had managed to put these tyrants to flight...
The aim of the conference "Early Monumentality and Social Diferentiation in Neolithic Europe: Megaliths, Societies, Landscapes" is to gather experts in research on megalithic and monumental structures and the societies that built them to communicate and discuss the results of the Priority Programme on an international level. Therefore, we have invited scientists from all over Europe to participate in order to improve our knowledge about the early prehistoric monuments and their backgrounds in Northern and Western Europe. We are especially pleased that the conference will simultaneously be a meeting of the European Megalithic Studies Group. We are looking forward to ive days of intense discussion and knowledge production in the ield of megaliths, societies and landscapes in Neolithic Europe.
At the occasion of the Summer Seminar of the Cultural Routes which took place from 1st to 5th June 2015 in Osnabrück, Germany, the European Institute of Cultural Routes presented its new communication campaign on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest): #RouteSelfie.
The Institute, through the Hector Project, brings out a new action in order to improve the promotion of European Cultural Heritage among the general public. After Crossing Routes and its bloggers’ network in 2014, the Institute would like to offer a new communication tool to the Cultural routes by using social Media. This new communication campaign, “#RouteSelfie”, will last from June to 1st September 2015 and will be officially launch on Wednesday 10th June 2015.
The campaign’s principle is to invite travellers, tourists, bloggers, to discover Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe and to share their touristic and cultural experience through Selfies posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. All publications related to the campaign on social Media will be identifying by the hashtag #RouteSelfie.
The aims of the campaign are numerous:
• Identify the public and attract more visitors and different targets on Council of Europe Cultural Routes;
• Promote European Heritages especially those includes in Cultural Routes;
• Improve communication with general public about activities developed by Cultural Routes Networks;
• Create a community of travellers and visitors from the whole world who could share impressions, discoveries and experiences about European Cultural Routes;
• Bring European Citizens together around their common Heritage.
The Commission for Westphalian Antiquities was founded in 1897 to research archaeological themes in Westphalia.
The main areas of research are ringforts and other fortifications from the Bronze Age to medieval times, historical routes and – since 2014 – megaliths. The Commission for Westphalian Antiquities seeks to communicate scientific knowledge to the public by pointing out archaeological landmarks. Best examples are the Westphalian Ways of St. James, which have been reconstructed and signposted.
The Archaeological Working Group for the District and Town of Osnabrück was founded in 1972 as an interest group of amateur archaeologists. The intention was to enable voluntary cooperation in the research and preservation of archaeological monuments and find spots in the Osnabrück town and district and support the work of official departments. Until 1980 a number of important excavation projects were conducted by the Osnabrück town and district archaeological department with the major participation of members of the Archaeological Working Group.
The town and district archaeological department was set up in 1975 for the research and protection of archaeological monuments in the district and town of Osnabrück and is thus one of the oldest institutions of its kind in Lower Saxony. Among the most important projects have been the archaeological research on the megalithic culture, burial customs from the Bronze to the Iron Ages, the spread of Celtic culture, Roman-Germanic military conflicts, the early medieval sacred architecture and on settlement landscape and the castles and urban centres of the High Middle Ages.
... This event has been organized as one of the highlights of the anniversary year of Kiel University: On May 14th, students and teachers will construct a megalithic stone tomb near the main lecture hall building. In the process, the stones weighing tons will only be moved and put in place with muscle power and simple tools as implemented in the Stone Age, when hundreds of such monuments were constructed in Schleswig-Holstein. The megalithic tomb Wangels LA69 in Ostholstein, which has been excavated by archaeologists in recent years, serves as a model for the joint project of the Institute of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology, the Graduate School Human Development in Landscapes and the DFG Priority Programme Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation.
Visitors to the event are also welcomed to take part in a diverse programme. At 14:00 hrs, an oxcart loaded with flint, which began in the morning at the barrow cemetery in Flintbek, will arrive at Christian-Albrechts-Platz. Members of the Archaeological-Ecological Center in Albersdorf will introduce old techniques of grain and flint processing as well as archery and weaving on a warp-weighted loom and the Graduate School will present displayed objects from the exhibition “Manipulated Landscapes”. Posters in Audimax inform guests about the eating habits of our Neolithic ancestors. At 19:00 hrs, a joint lecture will offer insights on the culture associated with the megalithic monuments. Admission to the entire event is free of charge.
On April 26th, the Commission for Westphalian Antiquities hosted for the first time the European Day of Megalithic culture in Beckum, where a well-preserved megalithic tomb is located in the district of Dalmer. From 13 to 17h, about 120 people came by foot, by bicycle and by car to visit the place and to participate in different activities.
The children had a lot of fun making Stone Age idols out of clay under the expert guidance of archaeologist C. Siemann (Fig. 1). In a common “cleanup” action, supported by the Association for Local History Beckum e.V., the tomb was made visible to all again: leaves were raked, branches were cut from the trees near the tomb; even some old and rotten tree trunks, which had formerly served as seats for the pupils of the Green Classroom, were moved aside.
The archaeologists of the Commission for Westphalian Antiquities reported on the latest archaeological research news of the tomb of Beckum-Dalmer and its surroundings, e.g. geophysical surveys in 2011. More than 60 people heard two 10 to 15 minutes guided tours (Fig. 2).
People were very interested in the work of the Commission for Westphalian Antiquities, but also in other parts of the European Megalithic Route, especially the closely neighboured “Straße der Megalithkultur” of Lower Saxony (Fig. 3).
At 15.30h, the "World Café" started, opened by K.-U. Strothmann, mayor of Beckum, and supervised by W. Bauhus from the Office for Research Transfer (AFO) of the Westphalian Wilhelm University of Münster. In a really relaxed atmosphere, having teatime with some coffee and cakes, 20 interested people discussed lively three questions concerning the tomb: “I am here today, because…”; and: “I would come here, when/because…”; and: “I would never come here, because…” (Fig. 4).
The concept of the “World Café” implies different leading themes, enabling a constructive discussion. Everyone is emboldened to express his/her opinion, to find together aims and strategies. At Beckum, the three questions were processed in meetings of about 10 minutes duration at three tables. The participants wrote their suggestions directly on a paper laid on the tables. Between the meetings, the groups changed. The hosts, W. Bauhus, V. Brieske and K. Schierhold, remained at one table all the time: They welcomed new guests, summed up briefly the previous conversation and started the discourse again (Fig. 5). The “World Café” closed its doors with a summary of the main findings: Many participants had come because of their interest in their home town and its history, and to be informed about news in addition to knowledge acquired from parents or school. As a very important fact, all felt that the place should be better signposted and that scientific news concerning the tomb and its place in history should be better communicated. All participants would also like to bring back the tomb into the actual cultural memory: especially school classes should visit the place. However, the integration into existing bicycle routes or cultural routes had also been suggested. Furthermore, some people thought of various forms of regular events at the grave. Finding reasons why one does not want to come to the grave was difficult. But at least, some were afraid that too much prominence could harm the place: The idyllic and quiet, so to say secluded location would be deprived of its peaceful atmosphere, e.g. if the access road would be asphalted, a car park would be created or if a shelter would be drawn up. These changes might be accompanied by a littering of the place. Furthermore, a nature reserve lies adjacent to the area around the grave, so nature would also probably have to suffer. Therefore, it was proposed to find a volunteer who looks after the place; but it was also made clear that an appropriate person is hard to find. Nevertheless, the World Café in Beckum was a great success: it brought together a lot of people of different ages and diverse opinions. In addition to members of the Association for Local History Beckum e.V.with its manager St. Wittenbrink, and M. Hagedorn from the “Kreisheimatpflege”, also local politics was represented by mayor K.-U. Strothmann, and Vice-mayor R. Grothues. Local residents were involved in the discussion, and also pupils contributed their ideas and thoughts. On this base, new ways of presentation of the megalithic tomb of Beckum-Dalmer can be found for the future (Fig. 6).
To sum up, the first European Day of Megalithic Culture in Westphalia was a great success. We are already looking forward to the next year with a new fascinating motto; and we cordially invite everyone to participate and hear news from the ancestors!
Klaus de Laak, Author and Documentarian