Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tustrup Dolmens North Djursland

Tustrup Stone Age Grave site 


Most of our visible prehistoric memories are usually spread separately in the landscape,  but on a small plateau west of Tustrup village at North Djursland is another kind of memory from our ancient history. Here is a collection of grave monuments from Bondestenalderen, the socalled Tragtbægerkultur (Funnelbeaker-culture) . 

Bondestenalderen /Neolithic or New Stone Age marks the start of agriculture and domestic animals in Denmark. The period is known for its milled stone axes, fine ceramics and many of the numerous gravehills spread in the Danish landscape. 

The brook
When the grave site was in use about 5000 year since the landscape looked quite different. It was covered in hardwood forest which the Stone Age people was clearing for their fields. The brook was then a big water stream which a few kilometer away run out in a fjord-system connecting the sound with the sea of Kattegat. Some hills nearby were then an island in the Stone Age ocean, and the coast of Djursland was like a Swedish archipelago with small islands, sounds, isthmus, fjords and inlets.

The cult house (5x5,5 m) with an open northeast gable was probably the center of the activities of the grave site. Upon the floor by the back wall were found 28 pretty clay pots, identical to the ceramics which partly gave name to the Tragtbægerkultur and partly were used as sacrifices in front of the house and in the dolmens and the passage grave. The cult house is interpreted as some kind of temple where the diseased were placed while their graves were built -  and in which the rites were performed. Similar cult houses have later been found in other Danish localitities. 

At Moesgaard Museum by Aarhus are the finds shown in an exhibition and in a nearby field close to the beach is a reconstruction of the cult house. 

The passage grave has a 3x 10 m grave chamber.  It was built as a common grave and was used both  by the Tragtbægerkulturen and later cultures. Into the grave chamber leads a 6 m long passage . The passage was earlier covered with big stones like in the grave chamber. The stones are very large and impressive and the pasasage gave at Tustrup represents a giant working process.  Over 40 large stones between 1/2 and 20 tons were used in the building.
In the floor of the grave chamber's northern end are some flat stones which might be a mark for graves reserved for special people. In the passage grave is a special chamber which is popular among children. They can climb into a side chamber by the help of a flashlighr. Similar side chambers are found in only 26 out of 700 left passage graves in Denmark. The side chamber was built at the same time as the main chamber. There might be a purpose. Maybe it was reserved for the chief and his family ?

The two other big stone graves at Tustrup are

dolmens with polygonal grave chambers. The dolmens are traditionally considered as  forerunners of the big passage grave, but the ceramic-finds in the excavations were of the same character in both the cult house and the passage grave, so the graves must have been in use at the same time.

Northwest of the cult house is a freestanding dolmen chamber with 5 of originally 6 cover stones and a short chamber passage with 2 cover stones. In the floor  between the passage and the chamber is a socalled tærskelsten  (threshold stone) which marks where the inner wood- or stone door was placed. 

The fine round dolmen southeast of the cult house has no chamber passage. The opening to the chamber is just a space between 2 of 5 cover stones of the chamber. The round dolmen was restored in 1994 and rebuilt  according to the earlier excavations in order to give the visitor the experience of an intact round dolmen, contrarily to the rather desolated dolmen chamber. Along the foot of the earth hill which surrounds the chamber stand 13 big edge stones with a fine dry wall. The cover stone above the chamber and parts of the dry wall and the earth hill were added in 1994, and outside the chamber opening lies a stone from the dolmen with clear cleaving traces from present stone work in the area. Large stones were always a sought after building material. Maybe already used in the building of the nearby ashlar church in Nørager and as gravel in local roads or railways. 

Besides the prehistorics the Tustrup area has a pretty nature with marked paths and a primitive overnight/shelter close to the information-building at the western parking. The area undergoes constant natural care in order to restore a vegetation which harmonizes best possible with the vegetation of Stone Age and in order to visualize the varied landscape of the area. .

a creative farmer of today has made fine graphics in the field.

reconstructed cult house, Moesgaard, Aarhus.

Source Danske Fortidsminder/ Danmarks Kulturarvs Forening 

photo Tustrup-dysserne 2002 og 2015:  grethe bachmann

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Summerdays in August

Harvest and Beach

It's harvest time, we're in August and lovely summer days have arrived after a capricious July. We've got some warm sunny days without interruption and this is the right time for finishing the harvest. There is field work everywhere. The farmers are busy and they've got no time to relax and go to a beach today with the family This area on Djursland is agriculture land and the golden cornfields dominate the landscape.

Lystrup Strand  at the north coast of Djursland . By a corner of the beach is a small lagune formed by an outer sand bank.

You can walk out to the sand bank  The water is not deep  and Lystrup beach is a friendly place for children  - and not overcrowded..

The big beaches of North Djursland: Fjellerup and Bønderup are situated a little longer to the east of the coast.

The surroundings are very varied with beach meadows, fields, heather hills and forests.

Close to the north Djursland beaches: 
Djurs Sommerland  for the whole family (15 km )
Skandinavisk dyrepark (zoo-park) (15 km )
Tustrup Stone Age dolmens and passage grave in a landscape.  (2 km)
Nature Center Franders fjord.  (10 km)
Gl. Estrup Castle (12 km)

Airborn PR for Salami. Isn't this just an incredibly blue sky?

Nørager Kirke, built ca. 1100

High up above - this is a red kite!

A cosy house, Skarresø

the country road on the way back home

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” 
Henry James

photo Djursland August 2015: grethe bachmann

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Aarhus, my Town - New Waterfront

The Iceberg
students house

The promenad continues all the way up to the old coast road.

Iceberg and in the background a cruise liner.

the gardens

hanging gardens
the children love the chicken

small gardens for the whole family

A Greenhouse

Urban Farming 
In a big area which is not yet clear for the new buildings are some small gardens for people and they are extremely popular with young people and families with children.  When a new building site is started  next year the gardens can easily be moved to another free place but this summer they are placed  close to the promenad. and the sea. 

Urban Farming

ferry between Århus and Mols.

A beach has been created for the inhabitants. There are fine beaches norht and south of Aarhus but  there are already many inhabitants living by the water front and people from mid town come here too. Just put lots of sand upon the ground and plant some sweet little palms and you've got a beach by the water front. A new funny view tower was built and an interimistic beach bar  It was a success from the beginning. The beach  and the bar were filled up with people on this sunny Saturday in August . 

The Water Front

Aahus  has got a new waterfront . It is not yet finished but it will be soon. Aarhus is culture city in 2017.
 I took some photos yesterday on 22 august on a sunny warm day. It looks very promising  Many flats and apartments have now been sold or lent out. It was a nice walk along the beach promenad by the bay. There is also a beach with palm trees and sand and a beach bar ( still not yet quite finished) but people were crowding alle over the place. : .

one of the building sites.The old coast road in background

If you would like to see which are the architects of the waterfront then here are two links:

Friday, August 21, 2015

Penny-Farthing /Velocipede / Væltepeter

"Væltepeter" in a roundabout in Aalestrup, Jutland /GB
The bike with the very large front wheel is in Denmark called Væltepeter, which is a socalled folk-ethymological recreation of the French velocipede.  The English word for this bike is the penny-farthing, also known as the high wheel, high wheeler and ordinary. Mostly they were known as bicycles.It was popular until the safety bicycle came in the 1880s.

The first bicycle race in Denmark was (on velocipedes) on  22 April 1869 in Copenhagen.

Although the trend was short-lived, the penny-farthing became a symbol of the late Victorian era. Its popularity also coincided with the birth of cycling as a sport

Penny-farthing bicycles are dangerous due to the risk of headers. Makers developed "moustache" handlebars , allowing the rider's knees to clear them, "Whatton" handlebars, that wrapped around behind the legs and ultimately (though too late, after the Starley safety bike), with the 1889 American "Eagle" and "Star", the positions of the big and small wheels were reversed  This prevented headers, but left the danger of being thrown backwards when riding uphill. Other attempts included moving the seat rearward and driving the wheel by levers or treadles or gears or by chain. Another option was to move the seat well back Even so, bicycling remained the province of the urban well-to-do, and mainly men, until the 1890s, and was a salient example of conspicious consumption.

The penny-farthing used a larger wheel than the velocipede, thus giving higher speeds on all but the steepest hills. In addition, the large wheel rolled more readily over cobbles, stones, and ruts. Since rough-paved and unpaved roads were more common than smooth roads, the increase in rider comfort was significant. An attribute of the penny-farthing is that the rider sits high and nearly over the front axle. When the wheel strikes rocks and ruts, or under hard braking, the rider can be pitched forward off the bicycle head-first. Headers were relatively common and a significant, sometimes fatal, hazard. Riders coasting down hills often took their feet off the pedals and put them over the tops of the handlebars, so they would be pitched off feet-first instead of head-first.

Penny-farthing bicycles were often quite durable and required little service. For example, when cyclist Thomas Stevens rode around the world in the 1880s, he reported only one significant mechanical problem in over 20,000 km, caused when the local military confiscated his bicycle and damaged the front wheel.

Today, enthusiasts ride restored penny-farthings, and a few manufacturers build new ones.

The classic 1956 film adaptation of Around the World in 80 days opens with Passepartout (played by Cantinflas) riding a penny-farthing through the streets of London.                              
see Wikipedia for more information.