Tuesday, July 17, 2012

ABC Wednesday–Ale’s Stones

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Two weeks ago I blogged about Ystad, a town in  southern Sweden. Within Ystad municipality, at the small village of Kåseberga, you’ll find the Swedish equivalent (perhaps) of Stonehenge: Ale’s stones (Ales stenar).

The photo above is my own from 1992; and so is the one below of wild poppies in a field nearby:

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The following images are from public websites.

File:Ales stenar bred.jpg

Ale’s stones is a stone ship 67 meters long formed by 59 large boulders of sandstone, weighing up to 1.8 tonnes each. According to Scanian folklore, a legendary king called King Ale lies buried there - the cousin of king Hrothgar of the Old English epic poem Beowulf.

File:Alestenar1777.jpg
Sketch of Ale’s stones by C.G.G. Hilfeling, 1777

“Between the sea and heaven cants the coast
there Ale raised a giant ship of stones,
recumbent where the glare of light dispersed,
in the darkened stillness of the forms reconciles,
a saga obscured shrouded to the tones of the Baltic,
a memorial whose secret alone it conceals.”

Anders Österling (Swedish poet 1884 – 1981)

Ales stenar familj

The stone ship has been restored on two occasions – in 1917 and 1956. The 1917 resoration was probably quite minor compared to the one that took place in 1956.  Major digging and bulldozing work was then carried out without supervision by archaeologists.  A military facility built on the site during World War II had contributed to a state of disrepair. Since the 1980s, several archaeological and geological excavations have been carried out. The stone ship was probably erected between 500-1000 CE; but boulders from older graves in the same field may have been used. More speculative theories have also been proposed to suggest the stones were once used as a solar calendar.

(Info from Wikipedia + Ystad Municipality’s website.)

ABC Wednesday – Round 11 – A

21 comments:

  1. A stone ship is a fascinating concept! Love the moodiness of your scene in the first photo!

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  2. I live in England and visited Stone Henge a couple of times,I found your stones very interesting thanks for sharing.Love Jill x

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  3. Wow! Amazing! I've been to Stonehenge twice but didn't know there was something similar in Sweden. Thanks for sharing and have an awesome week,

    Leslie
    abcw team

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    1. There are quite a few stone ship settings in Scandinavia but Ale's is one of the biggest and most impressive.

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  4. this did remind me of Stonehenge. fascinating
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

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  5. I'm loving these pictures in Sweden. Had never heard of this...and the stone ship..awesome.

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  6. Fascinating! Your own pictures are far more interesting than the other ones, they carry a lot more atmosphere, I think. Love the poppies in the field!

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    1. Thanks Meike for the compliment about the photos. Those were taken long before the digital camera days but they happen to be among a selection that I later had scanned from negatives unto a CD.

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  7. Wow! I've never seen so many of these kind of stones in one place. Interestingly, I was just doing some research in Anglo Saxon literature and was re-reading parts of Beowulf. Haven't looked at it for years.

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  8. It looks like a giant animal died on the spot with its mouth wide open showing all of its teeth.

    The only stones I ever saw were the ones at Avebury (not far from Stonehenge), but getting them in one photo would mean aerial photography, since they are scattered around the village.

    Great A!

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  9. Living as I do near the Callanish Standing Stones I can really appreciate these photos.

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    1. If I ever get to Lewis, that's one place I'd want to see for sure. I might be disappointed though if I don't find them sparkling with electricity like in the photos taken by your Gaz... ;)

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  10. I visited Stonehenge back in the early 1970s on a family holiday. One of the sights one does not forget!

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  11. So interesting, Monika. I like the drawing they made in 1777, as well as the flower field!

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  12. This is very cool. As much as I'd like to travel just about everywhere in the world, I must admit that's not all that likely to happen. Thank goodness for the internet and blogs like yours that can show me such special things that I'd otherwise never see. Thanks!

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    1. I feel the same about other people's blogs, not being much of a traveller myself!

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  13. Interesting that it was a ship. It might be a burnt ship, because that is what a burnt ship looks like, just the ribs left....

    Fascinating.

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    1. Stone ship settings were quite common in Scandinavia back in the Viking era.

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  14. "a memorial whose secret alone it conceals"
    lovely line.

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