The megaliths around Gaarz

The area around Gaarz, which includes the parishes of Blengow, Gaarzerhof (see map), Neu Gaarz, Garvsmühlen, and Mechelsdorf, has altogether 13 megaliths. Some of them (4, 5, 12, 13, 18, 19) have been excavated and restored in 1967, as part of the megalith research programme directed by Ewald Schuldt (Hollnagel 1970; Schuldt 1970a; 1970b; 1970c).

Research started here, however, much earlier. One megalith in Gaarzerhof (4), which was surrounded by a rectangular stone enclosure, had clearly been disturbed and its content of grave goods quite literally excavated by people of the TRB culture, before they closed the grave and erected an earthen mound on top of it (Schuldt 1970b: 164). During the later 19th and the early 20th century, sites in Blengow (1) and Garvsmühlen (6) were investigated by antiquarians. Other megaliths, in Mechelsdorf (12) and Neu Gaarz (18), showed evidence of unauthorised digging during about the same time. In one case in Mechelsdorf (13) this must have happened much more recently (Schuldt 1970b: 166; 1970c: 181).

Nowadays the area is visited frequently by tourists, and the megaliths have become attractions to go to and look at. Several have been fitted with information-boards summarising the results of the excavations (see image left). However, public attention can also have it drawbacks: various recent cases of vandalism at a megalith in Gaarzerhof (5; see images right and below) were reported in the regional newspaper Ostsee-Zeitung from 28.8.1973 (after Ortsakte).

Some later prehistoric evidence has been found in or at these monuments. The megaliths in Blengow (2), Mechelsdorf (12, 13) and Neu Gaarz (18, 19) show cup-marks and cross-shaped wheels. In one megalith in Neu Gaarz (19) early German pottery has been found in a depth of up to 1.0 m inside the chamber (Schuldt 1970a: 124). But particularly striking are the many later prehistoric finds in the neighbourhood of these megaliths (see also Lampe 1975, 1977). I have prepared a little slide show for you which shows the distributions of later finds around the megaliths of this area in different periods. Each slide will be visible for approximately 10 seconds. At the end of the show, you will return to this place.

View towards Gaarzerhof from east-south-east (1995)

The sites in this area have also got interesting stories to tell about their more recent past. One megalith in Gaarzerhof (5; see images above and left) still shows boreholes from the work of stone-robbers. In 1951, workmen boiled tar in the chamber of a megalith in Neu Gaarz (18), which also served as an official measuring point, while one side-stone of another megalith there (19) has recently been re-used as the endpoint of a lightning conductor from the nearby barracks (Schuldt 1970a: 122).

A megalithic chamber in Mechelsdorf (12; see image right) was even used as a military observation point during World War II, and had been completely cleared out for that purpose. Similarly, a megalith in Gaarzerhof (4) served as a machine position. Moreover, in the neighbourhood of both sites, trenches and gun emplacements were built (Schuldt 1970c: 181 and note from 3.6.1949 in Ortsakte).


Literature

Hollnagel, Adolf (1970) Das Ganggrab von Gaarzerhof, Kreis Bad Doberan. Bodendenkmalpflege in Mecklenburg, Jahrbuch 1968, 101–119.

Lampe, Willi (1975) Eine jungslawische Siedlung bei Wendelstorf, Kreis Bad Doberan. Bodendenkmalpflege in Mecklenburg, Jahrbuch 1974, 241–271.

Lampe, Willi (1977) Spätkaiserzeitliche und altslawische Siedlungsgruben in den Wallbergen von Zweedorf, Kreis Bad Doberan. Bodendenkmalpflege in Mecklenburg, Jahrbuch 1976, 139–167.

Schuldt, Ewald (1970a) Die große Kammer von Neu-Gaarz, Kreis Bad Doberan. Bodendenkmalpflege in Mecklenburg, Jahrbuch 1968, 121–147.

Schuldt, Ewald (1970b) Zwei Großdolmen mit Gang von Gaarzerhof und Mechelsdorf, Kreis Bad Doberan. Bodendenkmalpflege in Mecklenburg, Jahrbuch 1968, 149–177.

Schuldt, Ewald (1970c) Zwei Urdolmen mit Gang von Mechelsdorf und Neu-Gaarz, Kreis Bad Doberan. Bodendenkmalpflege in Mecklenburg, Jahrbuch 1968, 179–189.

© Cornelius Holtorf