Monumental enclosures, non-megalithic and megalithic tombs of the early and middle Neolithic in Schleswig-Holstein: Studies on the construction history, age determination, function and landscape relations within the micro regions Büdelsdorf and Albersdorf


The basic aim is to clarify the relationship between causewayed enclosures, non-megalithic and megalithic tombs in southern Jutland, a central region of the Funnel Beaker Culture distribution. Thus shall be conducted due to the comparison and detailed analyses of two micro regions: on the one hand Büdelsdorf/Borgstedt, where the connection between tombs and enclosure is obvious, on the other hand Albersdorf, where both types of monuments seem to be spatially separated.

In Büdelsdorf and Borgstedt there is the almost unique chance to relate the tombs to phases of the enclosure in an exact chronological scale. This is the basic condition to answer questions on social differentiation and early monumtality:

  • In which way does the enclosure in Büdelsdorf and its inner construction develop? How can the precise chronological differentiation that has already been worked out for the Borgstedt tombs be verified? What kind of role do the differences between non-megalithic and megalithic tombs and between single- (pit graves, “miniature dolmen”) and collective burials play? What explanation is possible for the errection of non-megalithic collective tombs in MN IV after a megalithic phase from MN I - MN III?

  • How can the construction history of the enclosure and its inner structures as well as the megalithic cemetery be correlated? In which construction phase were the particular megalithic tombs built or did their construction followed an earlier erection of the enclosure?

  • What kind of function have the single items of the enclosure based on the find compositions and depositional processes? Were the ditches used in later phases? What character do the inner structures have?

  • Is it possible to reconstruct individual relations between tombs and enclosure: Is it possible to adapt potsherds or to develop possibly family-specific decorations or paddling-methods, which connect the tombs to the enclosure?

  • What amount of work required the particular phases of the enclosure and how high is the forest clearance for example for the reconstructed palisades?

  • What kind of role play the areas of Büdelsdorf/Borgstedt referring to the connection between North- and Baltic Sea via the river Eider? Is it possible to reconstruct tide depending water levels in order to clarify the meaning of the regions for a water way?

  • Is there a connection between the single phases of the building history of enclosure and tombs compared to the regional development of the landscape and climate? Is it possible to relate the deviation of the sea- level with its effects on water levels of the Eider-lowlands to the decreasing or increasing significance of the regions Büdelsdorf/ Borgstedt?

    • How is the character of this transformation zone and its function within the transfer in north-southern and east-western direction to qualify?

    As immediate archaeological relations between tombs and enclosures via finds are not documented in any available publications Büdelsdorf/Borgstedt is meant to be an exemplar for such a reference.

    From the micro region of Albersdorf one causewayed enclosure and numerous megalithic tombs are known. Due to test excavations of the enclosure, which took place after different surveys, the huge potential of this facility could already be shown. Not only the number of surface finds is quite low compared to other profane Funnel Beaker settlements, also the features are sparely. Therefore it is not a typical settlement site. Based on their unequal inner structures the complexes of Albersdorf and Büdelsdorf seem to represent different types of enclosures. The apparent cross-bar between the ditch sections and the very early age determination lead to the supposition that relations to the low mountain range (e. g. Michelsberg/Wartberg) exist. These assumptions could now be verified by the excavation of a larger area. Since the megalithic tombs of Albersdorf are dissociated from the enclosure and do not show any alignment to it (in contrast to the megalithic tombs of Borgstedt), the chronological relationship of all sites has to be clarified and correlated with the reconstructed environmental development. This has already been realized successful at one of the tombs, where a construction time more or less parallel (3650-3600 calBC) to the causewayed enclosure was detected.

    Following points of principle result from the previous achievements:

    • What does the contemporaneous erection of causewayed enclosure and megalithic tombs mean? Can the temporal approach 3600 BC be validated at different types of facilities (e.g. Longbarrows), too? Are the TRB construction phases at the enclosure and the megalithic tomb adapted to synchronisation? Can we draw similar tendencies also at different facilities? How can the destruction respectively abandonment of the complexes be explained?

    • How does the conception of the internal structures develop from phase to phase? How is the discrepance between short-term events (recuttings and refillings) and a collective memory for probably several centuries to interpretate? Is it possible to retrace accordant traditions via typochronological developments of pottery?

    • Are - beneath the megalithic tomb Brutkamp and the causewayed enclosure Dieksknöll - also different types of facilities to integrate in this chronological frame? How can the location and function of profane settlements be placed within the spatial conception of ritual sites?

    • Is it possible to associate the results with the present and future environmental archeological reconstruction?

    Comparing both micro regions following questions have to be answered:

    • Can the beginning of erection of enclosures und tombs in the area of Büdelsdorf be fixed to the same time frame as it could be observed in Albersdorf? Is it a matter of contemporaneous phenomenon of enclosures and megalithic tombs, too?

    • Are there construction phases of the Funnel Beaker time and later phases of occupation in Büdelsdorf/Borgstedt as it could be detected in Albersdorf?
    • Why do the internal conceptions of both enclosures develop in a different way? Does this circumstance depend on different topographic and ecological conditions or has it to be explained by intentional cultural behavior?
    • Is it possible to convey our results to the interpretation of other areas of the northern Funnel Beaker Culture? Is it possible to create prognoses for models of further enclosures?