The megaliths around Lancken-Granitz and Burtevitz

The group of megaliths around Lancken-Granitz and Burtevitz, Kreis Rügen (see map), contains some of the best known megaliths in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
View from one megalith (301) towards two others (302, 303) in Lancken-Granitz (1995)
In 1829, Friedrich von Hagenow recorded altogether 28 megaliths in the area. A visit to one of them was described in a poem by Kosegarten in 1778, and a drawing of another prepared by Caspar David Friedrich in 1806 (?). Today, only 10 megaliths are still clearly visible, protected, and frequently visited by tourists. They are shown on many postcards of both Lancken-Granitz and Rügen as a whole. Despite the work of the tireless local teacher Friedrich-Wilhelm Furthmann (1920–1986) and his wife to keep the monuments in a good condition, instances of vandalism and rubbish deposition were regularly reported. Out of piety and respect for the buried, Furthmann even used to leave bouquets of flowers at the megaliths.

The megaliths are surrounded by folk-tales about treasures, giants, the devil, historical events and general eerie phenomena (Furthmann 1980: 106f.).

During Ewald Schuldt's megalith research project, most of the main sites were excavated in 1969 and directly afterwards restored for visitors (Beltz 1972; Schuldt 1972a; 1972b; 1972c; 1972d). Among the results were secondary burials from the Single Grave Culture in the megalith 'Goldbusch' in Burtevitz (190; Schuldt 1972c), and from the Slavic period in one in Burtevitz (191; Ortsakte) and one in Dummertevitz (see below).

Interestingly, one megalith in Burtevitz (191; see image left from 1995), which was surrounded by a stone circle, had previously been protected as a (Bronze Age) tumulus. In fact, it turned out to have been used as a burial site until the early (or later?) Bronze Age and after that its outer appearance appears to have been transformed so that it would be indistinguishable from an ordinary Bronze Age tumulus (Schuldt 1972b; Furthmann 1980: 105). During the later Slavic period, a secondary burial was deposited in the mound. In more recent times, the chamber was damaged when it was used as a shelter by practising units of the East German People's Army (Ortsakte 11.9.1987).

Several graves in Lancken-Granitz (300, 301, 303) seemed to show a similar continuity in use until the early Bronze Age—whether or not this shows that the same families who had built the tombs during the Middle Neolithic used them until then, as Schuldt suggested (1972a: 36). Only then were the chambers closed and filled with earth, and a mound erected over everything (Schuldt 1972a: 32, 36, 54, 82–84).

The 'Ziegensteine' in Dummertevitz (199; see image right from 1995) may likewise have been used for burials until the Bronze Age (Schuldt 1972d). But the most fascinating result of the excavations here were at least 9 and perhaps up to 20 late Slavic urns containing secondary burials that had been placed in the mound right over the megalithic tomb, directly above the grave chamber: the main architectural features of the Neolithic monument were obviously known at the time (Schuldt 1973).

In this context it is also interesting to observe that the Slavs built a series of their own burial mounds in the area, although not in the immediate neighbourhood of the megaliths (Warnke 1982: 197). Perhaps these mounds were attempts to imitate older forms of grave architecture. This comparatively small area around Lancken-Granitz must in Slavic times (at the latest) have looked like an extraordinary landscape of death.
The great number of later prehistoric finds (from the pre-Roman and the Roman Iron Age, the early, middle and late Slavic and the early German period) in the direct neighbourhood of the megaliths shows that people frequented these places through the ages. Medieval finds were made too. I have prepared a little slide show for you which shows the distributions of later finds around the megaliths of Lancken-Granitz and Burtevitz in different periods. Each slide will be visible for approximately 10 seconds. At the end of the show, you will return to this place.

Several of the megaliths were damaged or totally destroyed through the work of stone-robbers who supplied stones mainly for road-building projects in the area (see image right), 'cyclopic' stone-walls in Lancken-Granitz and other projects from the 18th century until as late as the 1920s and 30s (Beltz 1972: 85; Furthmann 1980: 107). Traces of such activities can still be seen on the Ziegensteine in Dummertevitz (199) as well as on one megalith in Lancken-Granitz (301). During the 1970s the megaliths of Lancken-Granitz were chosen by the local agricultural collective (LPG) as the place to dump the stones which had been cleared from the fields (after Ortsakte).


Beltz, Erika (1972) Ein Großdolmen von Burtevitz, Kreis Rügen. Bodendenkmalpflege in Mecklenburg, Jahrbuch 1971, 85–114.

Furthmann, Friedrich-Wilhelm (1980) Die Großsteingräber bei Lancken-Granitz. Rügenjahrbuch 1980, 102–108.

Schuldt, Ewald (1972a) Die Großsteingräber von Lancken-Granitz auf der Insel Rügen. Bodendenkmalpflege in Mecklenburg, Jahrbuch 1971, 9–84.

Schuldt, Ewald (1972b) Der Großdolmen in einem Hügel mit Steinkreis von Burtevitz, Kreis Rügen. Bodendenkmalpflege in Mecklenburg, Jahrbuch 1971, 115–124.

Schuldt, Ewald (1972c) Der Goldbusch genannte Großdolmen am Ortsrande von Burtevitz, Kreis Rügen. Bodendenkmalpflege in Mecklenburg, Jahrbuch 1971, 125–132.

Schuldt, Ewald (1972d) Die Ziegensteine von Dummertevitz, Kreis Rügen. Bodendenkmalpflege in Mecklenburg, Jahrbuch 1971, 143–151.

Schuldt, Ewald (1973) Slawische Urnengräber in einem steinzeitlichen Hünenbett von Dummertevitz, Kreis Rügen. Bodendenkmalpflege in Mecklenburg, Jahrbuch 1972, 243–251.

Warnke, Dieter (1982) Bestattungssitten der slawischen Bevölkerung im Norden der DDR. Zeitschrift für Archäologie 16, 193–202.

© Cornelius Holtorf