Megalithic Cairns and Stone Chambers in Germany
The „Hälden“ as the missing link between the Megalithic cultures of western and northwestern Europe, and Etruscan necropolises
K. Walter Haug
Karlsruhe · 2002

Summary (English) · Zusammenfassung (deutsch)

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New discoveries demand a reassessment of conventionally held theories, dogmata, or paradigms.What I found is a completely new and unexpected kind of Megalithic cairns in a region that has, up to now, never been suspected to possess such prehistorical remains, namely southern Germany. The reason why these staggeringly imposing monuments have never been recognized, or identified, as such has to been seen in their - as it were "camouflaged" - concealed location, hidden under debris and vegetation, in what had erroneously been thought of as ancient quarries. People who actually visited such places containing gigantic cairns, thought that they were simply rubble heaps from former  quarrying work at some time in the past. And in fact many of them were misused - "cannibalized" as it were - as quarries, because it was relatively easy to carry away the already perfectly worked  freestone blocks or slabs.

As for the "Zwerchhälde" of Sternenfels near Karlsruhe (Fig. 1), I found building-steps (Fig. 2) and three ringwalls including the facade. This prehistorical structure is nearly 20 m high and must be regarded as the highest of all European Megalithic monuments.My excavation work, which I describe in detail in my book 1, has conclusively shown that the architecture of these monuments is identical with that of the cairns of Brittany, and of Egyptian stepped pyramids 2. An inner core, which is represented by the tomb chamber, normally a dolmen or a tholoi, is surrounded by circular dry-stone arrangements.Whereas the "Zwerchhälde" consists of three single structures on three distinct steps, which are deepend into the rock of the hillside (see the map in German Fig. 3), other monuments form regular necropolises.

At Schmie (near Maulbronn with its famous monastery) we found the "Sommerhälde" or "Steingrube" with 20 cairns in one rock-necropolis (Fig. 4a), which is very similar e. g. to the Etruscan rock necropolis Cerveteri 80 km north of Rome 3. (Fig. 4b) In both cases the rock high up on a hillside was removed to get a huge platform on which the tumuli could be erected. From this mountain-steps the view on the lower countryside is majestic. From the other direction, these monuments originally could be seen from a great distance, but nowadays they are covered by dark woods. 

Imagine what the landscape of central Europe must have looked like in those ancient times with such imposing structures! It would have been reminiscent of Etruria, Egypt, or Mesopotamia.

These monuments have been built throughout of stone, a feat which, indoctrinated with the current mainstream paradigm, nobody would have expected, up to now, from Germanic, Celtic, or pre-Celtic "barbarians", as they are described by the authors of antiquity.

Tentatively we assume a possibly widespread occurence of this newly discovered kind of cairn-like structures throughout the whole European continent, especially along the central mountain chains once called Hercynia Silva, perhaps even from the Iberian Peninsula to the Carpathians.

First instances have already been reported from the northern rim of the German highlands to where they approach the Alpine piedmonts:

1) Near Horn and the famous "Externsteine" is a gigantic monument in alignement with them, the "Bärenstein" (see Giganten der Vorzeit and the map Fig. 5). It is more than 250 m long, with a height of 20 meters.

2) Würzburg: On the "Marsberg" hill at the south-side of the city, we (Uwe Topper, Gernot Geise, a.s.o.) found a large necropolis of cairns in a huge "quarry" (Fig. 6).

Fig. 9: Marsberg; dry-stone walls

Fig. 12b: Marsberg; passage

On the Marsberg occur blocks of hewn limestone big as a man with straight edges (Fig. 7 & 8), ruins of former dry-stone walls surrounding the different steps of the cairns (Fig. 9, Fig.10 & Fig.11). In three of the cairns we found 4 narrow and even high passages to possibly unopened chambers (Fig. 12 a,12 b, & 12c). The outline of one passage in form of an elbow is known from Britanny, e. g. in the Morbihan county the dolmen of Goerem (Fig. 12d). On the "Sonnenstuhl", the next hill, there is another necropolis of long-barrows (Fig. 13) in the wood.

3) Schmie, the "Sommerhälde", also known as "Steingrube": four portals, or gateways, in the cairns are visible (Fig. 14). The passageways are covered by big stone slabs. In one you can see upright stone blocks of a unique form, rectangular, rather slender and long. The corners have narrow rims which have been deepend by chisel. The cairns remained in relatively good condition (See the photographs Fig. 15, Fig. 16, Fig. 17, Fig. 18, Fig. 19, Fig. 20 & Fig. 21).


4) Kürnbach near Bretten, the "Sommerhälde": one chamber can be inspected and is built of dry-stone walls, covered by stone slabs (Fig. 22 and Fig. 23 ) The cairn of the chamber is 60 meters long, 10 meters broad and 3 meters high, and has been erected close to the edge of the hillside.Connected to this monument are seven large steps of stone, each 60 meters in length, too, and leading to the valley below over a height of 80 meters (Fig. 24).; compare the computer-reconstruction (Fig. 25 ).

Fig. 20: Steingrube at Schmie

5) Sternenfels, the "Burghalde". This three stepped mound with a vanished castle on it is connected to an old legend, which says that a Caesar was buried beneath it (Fig. 26).

6) Sulzfeld, the "Kruschhälde". It seems to be a triangular and three stepped monument with a length of 300 m on each side(see Giganten der Vorzeit), completely hewn into in the rock! (Fig. 27).

7) Untergrombach/Bruchsal: In a dominant position at the top of a hill called "Köpfle" (small head or mountain) there are 10 long-barrows in a "quarry"“, 80 meters long, strictly lined up and west-east oriented like most Megalithic "Hünengräber" of northern Germany (Fig. 28). From this place one has a breath-taking view over the valley of the Rhine.

8) Heidelberg, opposite the  famous castle: a rock-necropolis of numerous cairns on the "Heidenknörzel" offers an impressive view over the river Neckar and its valley (Fig. 29). Close by the neighbouring hill, the "Heiligenberg", formerly had a huge oppidum and a Mercury temple on it.

9) Near Pforzheim, among the foothills of the Black Forest, the "Maihälde" close to the road between Brötzingen and Birkenfeld.

10) In the Black Forest we found the "Heidburg" near Haslach/Kinzigtal, a prominent hill with a rock-sanctuary and a well-pit on the hollowed top. Two big and steep cairns are flanking the narrow and precipitous access to the first of two high rock-steps.

There are many more cairn-locations in the „Kraichgau“ and „Zabergäu“, especially near Kürnbach and Sternenfels, e. g. near Oberderdingen, the very huge „Sommerhälde“. A big monument is found between Maulbronn and Knittlingen, the „Reichshälde/Brandhalde“, three rock-steps are reaching from the valley to the top of the hill, on each of it extraordinary tall cairns were erected. At the foot of the first step-building a complex of lined up earth-walls is ending (Fig. 30). Especially the main wall in the centre is very high and broad and bears even a dug out hollow way in its knoll. One may imagine that important personages in ancient times were walking on this bulwark in procession directly to the tomb of the ancestors.

The „quarries“/necropolises

First it was necessary, to untangle the story of these „quarries“. It is dissapointing, how little is known of these ancient structures. Quasi-industrial quarry-work doesn’t go back for more than about 200 years. One lucky find in the archives is a report from the year 1760 and relates to the year 1576. The „Steingrube“ (stone-pit) of Sternenfels was used as a supplier of building blocks at this time. But already in 1496 and 1499, when the town-wall and the Gothic church of Kürnbach was built, this quarry must have been in use. Today one can inspect this very old quarry.

It is totally empty, no blocks of stone of greater volume have been left behind. The stone-ground is even, so that quite recently buildings of a manufacturing district have been erected in there. Other regular quarries are now containing football-fields, rifle-ranges, even a complete holiday camp with a great number of bungalows, all installations which need large areas and a flat ground. In Maulbronn, the first settlement in the Middle Ages, the „Schafhof“, was raised in an ancient quarry, and even the monastery is situated in one, the walls of rock are concealed by high masonry.

You can calculate how many thousands of tons of stone left these quarries. If there are rubble heaps in such regular quarries, you will find them only in small parts of it, mainly beyond the rim, beyond the area where it would have been a hindrance for quarry-work.

That kind of quarries, however, which I am introducing here, shows quite another external appearance. In these we find a different kind of „heaps“. They are situated in the excavated interior of those quarries, and on first sight appear almost indistinguishable from real, massive rubble heaps. They are very steep, often several of them are standing closely together, letting only room for narrow lanes between them. But these „heaps“ are not made up of rubble, i. e. of fragmented and broken stone material: under a surface layer of earth and debris we find carefully laid out stones, often very big, i. e. of a Megalithic character. You wonder what could have been the reason that this material never left the place. The highest and steepest „heap“ reaches 20 meters, hights of from 10 to 12 meters being normal.

It is very simple to find such old necropolises, because you must only differentiate between regular quarries, in which stones were broken out of the walls of rock, and which are now completely broached. In the topographic maps they are marked without heaps. Only the outlines were recorded. Irregular quarries, which are almost intact necropolises, are always full of indrawn heaps.  But this doesn´t mean that they have never been touched by quarrying work. In reality they were also used as suppliers of stone, because it was so easy to take away the already fitted blocks of the ruins. Therefore the best parts of the cairns, the very precise worked facades, are lost. Even now you can make use of the blocks and slabs which are lying around everywhere or still sitting in the masonry. Only the fact, that stone-mason-work has almost died out, protects this big sources of sand- and limestone-blocks. Nowadays such weed-grown places have become nature reserves.

If you study the topographic maps of these „quarries“, you find hints to pagan times, in which the origin of such necropolises has to be assumed,  e. g. names like „Teufelsbruch“ at Walzbachtal (devil´s quarry), „Hexenbruch“ at Würzburg (witch´s quarry) or Heidenknörzel/Heidenkanzel at Heidelberg (pagan´s pulpit). The often found designation „Hälde“ may conceivably be related etymologically to Old High German „helden“ (inclined not vertical, cf. German „Halde“ or Old English „hieldan“), which means „rubble heap“. But in the German language we have the same term word-for-word translated „Geröllhaufen“. „Halde“ must be a very old noun, because its verb seems to be in Old High German „farhelan“, New High German „hehlen“ (to cover, to hide, to conceal). In the Slovenian langugage we have the same noun „halda“ and verb „halic“ with the same meanings.

Only this fact refers to Indoeuropean times. The German adjective „hohl“, engl. hollow, which may belong to the same root, shows that we have to expect hollow spaces in such „Hälden“, and actually we find stone chambers in it. Also some connections with German „Held“ (hero), the persons which were buried under and  probably have been doomed to the Germanic godess of death, Hel or Holda, cannot be ruled out. In view of the great age of these prehistoric constructions the possibility cannot be excluded, however, that the word „Hälde“ may be of pre-Indoeuropean origin, according to the researches of Prof. Theo Vennemann probably „Vasconian“ 5.

The „Kriemhildenstuhl“ (the chair or throne of Kriemhild of the Nibelungen saga) is called  a „Roman quarry“ since the excavations of 1934/35 and 1938, when several Roman inscriptions on the quarry walls were found. But the excavator`s opinion, Dr. Sprater 6, had been contradicted at the same time by Dr. Stoll 7, who said that Roman quarries generally have no such grooves, which are stretching over the whole surface of the quarry walls (Fig.  31).  This scientific dispute was unfortunately overshadowed by the postwar fascist/antifascist conflict. It has to be stated here that  the Kriemhildenstuhl grooves are absolutely identical to Egyptian quarries (Fig. 32)

In Egypt exhausted quarries were used as necropolises. You can find there stone chambers in the rock walls or shaft graves in the stone ground. Temples of the dead were hewn into the rock and a sculpture of the Pharao and a sphinx were erected. A fairly comparable necropolis is located near Gebel Silisila (Fig. 33) and it shows the same kind of „heaps“ standing closly together like here. Dr. Klemm 8 describes these heaps as absolutly identical to ours. They are not heaped up like ordinary rubble heaps, but piled up orderly with blocks and slabs. No effort was taken to find out the true character of these cairn-like constructions. 

There are indications  that the excavations at the Kriemhildenstuhl of 1935 and of 1938 destroyed a big cairn, which towered up in front of the quarry walls, because the excavators were only interested in the petroglyphes and were in a hurry - e. g. the material was not rubble but big blocks of stone, the same as were found in the murus Gallicus behind. And Dr. Sprater says that the material of 70 meters of the murus Gallicus above was found in the quarry. But is it possible that this missing part of the murus Gallicus could have been rolled down in the quarry during quarrying work? The quarrymen would rather have removed it before it became dangerous. It seems to be that there never was a murus Gallicus above, because it was not necessary to protect this part. The steep rock walls were hindrance enough. And above all we cannot decide if these stones were of a ring wall or of a cairn, because both buildings are of the same masonry.

The grooves are supposed to have been the result of a method of stone-cracking, by which the quarrymen are cutting drills in the rock to put in the crowbar. But this scrap-chisel-method doesn’t cause grooves over the whole surface of the quarry walls, because the drills only reach a few centimeters into the rock - as deep as the chisel is long - and the rupture occures smooth. Therefore it is obvious that the grooves must have been attached later. At the Kriemhildenstuhl, there are 40 petroglyphs between the grooves. Similar grooves you can inspect at the „Zwerchhälde“ of Sternenfels (Fig. 34) and at the „Sommerhälde/Steingrube“ of Schmie.

You will agree with me that it is totally unusual for an ordinary quarry that walls of stone are surrounding it. But in our case we are confrontated with this phenomen frequently. In most cases the wall of dry layed stones towers above the surrounding walls of rock, e. g. the Heidenburg of Haslach/Kinzigtal, which is a rectangular room hewn into the rock of a small and steep hilltop. Here you see a form of murus Gallicus raised on the walls of rock, to create a higher room. At the Zwerchhälde of Sternenfels this special form of murus Gallicus surrounds the intermediate one of three terraces, on each of these rock steps buildings are erected. The wall of rock on the valley-side is only a narrow rib, which is incorporated into the wall of stones, too, and a door was broken through (Fig. 35a & Fig. 35b).

Also in the Heidburg, parts of wall on both sides of the door are higher than usual. At the Sommerhälde of Oberderdingen, which is closed to the valley by the same form of rock-stone-wall, the chamfered quarry wall beneath the murus Gallicus overhangs, a fact which is incompatible with normal quarrying work. You can observe overhangig and bevelled parts of quarry walls also at the Zwerchhälde and at the Maishälde of Sternenfels. At the Sommerhälde of Oberderdingen we came across a special phenomen. Here the natural rock wall, which is in every case a narrow rib, was broken off between two intact parts, and a wall of stone was erected to fill this gap. On both sides the joint between rock and edifice is a vertical and precise line. You enter this „quarry“ through a rock door, too. 

It is well-known that prehistorical grave-monuments were protected by ditches and walls, e. g. the long barrow of Fussel´s Lodge is flanked by two ditches, the tumuli of the Etruscans and the mounds of the Celts were surrounded by ditches. The mastaba of Saqqara, the pyramid of Djoser, even the Cheops Pyramid were similarly surrounded. From this point of view, we should suspect that it must have been important personnages which were buried in such places.

The phenomen, that natural rock and artificial edifice were combined to produce a solid wall, cannot have been confined to this purpose. The cairns are mostly joined to the quarry wall. Therefore we must presume that the cairns hide portals in the wall of rock, which lead to grave chambers. We have to remember the Egyptian quarries with their shaft graves and adits, which are now visible because „rubble heaps“ are absent. Formerly there could have been the same „rubble heaps“ as in Gebel Silsila, which seem to me to be cairns. Because the Egyptian quarry heaps are always of lime stone, these former cairns could all have been converted to chalk and cement. In the chapter about the stone chambers, I present a promising indication for such a rock chamber on the Marsberg near Würzburg.
Sometimes you find such a quarry together with a „Burgstall“ or „Viereckschanze“, a form of so far somewhat enigmatic bulwark of pre-Christian times, which in almost all cases has not at all been  investigated: The Herdhälde quarry of Sternenfels (Burgstall), the quarry of Freudenstein (Burgstall) and the Brandhälde quarry of Knittlingen (Viereckschanze, which was used as a place of execution until 1800).

Not far away from the rock-necropolises you find the former residence or seat of a court, where the personage of high rank, buried there, had once resided: Celtic oppida, so called „Fürstensitze“ (seat of a sovereign), at the Kriemhildenstuhl the „Heidenmauer“, in Würzburg the „Marienburg“,near Heidelberg the „Heiligenberg“, in Untergrombach the „Michelsberg“ (a Neolithic rampart, which gave its name to a whole culture and period), and many other oppida, which are not identified as yet but are perceptible by their topographic situation.

It is revealing for the state of research of German archaeology, when Dr. Franz Fischer 9 wrote : „Auch wenn die Erforschung dieser Oppida in Südwestdeutschland noch völlig unzureichend ist, darf angenommen werden, daß in jedem Einzelfall wenigstens für kürzere, meistens aber längere Zeit eine nicht ganz geringe Bevölkerung vorhanden war; trotzdem kennen wir zu keinem südwestdeutschen Oppidum bisher die vorauszusetzende Nekropole - von den kleinen, im Land verstreuten gleichzeitigen Siedlungsstellen ganz zu schweigen“ (“Although these oppida in southwestern Germany as yet have only been investigated in a wholly inadequate and unsatisfactory manner, we may assume that in each case there has to have existed, for shorter or, in the majority of cases, longer periods of time, a rather considerable population. Even so we do not know as yet of any of the necropolises, which must have been associeted with the oppida of southwestern Germany, not to speak of the smaller settlements in the surrounding countryside“).

There are imposing residences of Celtic princes, but no one knows where they were buried. For this reason it is more than probable that the discovered structures, huge buildings of stone slabs with Megalithic chambers in misunderstood „quarries“, are the sought-after necropolises!

When I informed officials at the Department of Ancient Monuments in Karlsruhe of my first discovery, the Zwerchhälde cairn, one of them became very annoyed that this huge monument should have been erected in a quarry. He didn’t know of any archaeological example for such a case. But in Italy there are examples enough. In Cerveteri 80 km north of Rome there is the Etruscan Banditacci necropolis, which is nothing but a vast quarry in which the tumuli are closely arranged in a series. The foundations of the tumuli are cut out of the rock. If you see how packed the cairns are lined up in the quarries over here, you become aware of the parallels between ancient  German and Italian necropolises.

We definitely expect that in the course of time a whole advanced civilization of ancient times will come to light, which has so far been totally overlooked, and has perhaps become partially destroyed before reaching its mature phase. So far we can only speculate how the facades of these monuments formerly looked like, and which kind of unknown architecture lies hidden under the debris produced by nature and much later quarry workers.

The 'rubble heaps'/cairns

So long as archaeological excavation results are wanting, the architectural analysis is the only way to substantiate these overwhelming monuments. The best example for that kind of architecture I have found is the Cairn of Barnenez in France, which shows in the cross section many retaining walls (Fig. 36a).  But Egyptian stepped pyramids also have such onion-skin-like walls (Fig. 36b). Most people think that the steps of pyramids have been constructed as platforms, one on the other. But in reality, the pyramids of the first five dynasties show that every step is a wall, the deepest wall at the outside builds the deepest step, and so on. In the centre of a pyramid you must imagine a tower or better an obelisk 10. The same principles apply to Megalithic cairns and also to the buildings which I have excaveted, especially the „Zwerchhälde“ in Sternenfels shows three retaining walls. In Schmie you can see it at two cairns.

Most of the longbarrow-like „heaps“ are oriented west-east (Fig. 37), identical to the Megalithic „Hünengräber“ of northern Germany (ten parallel specimen at the Köpfle quarry of Untergrombach). Connected with the very long cairns (as long as 250 m) are smaller buildings, also longbarrow-like, but north-south-oriented, arranged in pairs and linked to the big one (the Rohrhälde quarry and the Sommerhälde quarry of Kürnbach) (Fig. 38).
The extraordinary aspect of southern German Megalithic cairns is the smooth and exact surface finish of the very heavy slabs of sandstone and limestone. There are the well-known big but mostly rather shapeless and clumsy megaliths of the dolmens of the Atlantic West and North of Europe. They seem to be boulders or crudly hewn blocks of very primitive quarry-work. But the slabs over here are always perfectly worked. Mostly they have a rectangular form with perfect corners, cut very precisely. Fig. 40: Wall of the Steingrub at Schmie
Fig. 42: Marsberg

For example the facades of the „Kruschhälde“ of Sulzfeld (Fig. 39), of the „Sommerhälde“ of Schmie (Fig. 40), the „Sommerhälde“ of Kürnbach (Fig. 41) and the cairns of the Marsberg-necropolis near Würzburg-Randersacker (Fig. 42), where one example shows the slabs of the facade standing on the narrow side, like the standing stones of the „Hünengräber“ of northern Germany. But those are  arranged with erratic blocks in a more or less natural state, instead. The ashlars here  are as heavy as the mysterious blocks of the well-known Megalithic cultures, the majority weighting many tons.


Therefore they are more comparable to constructional blocks of Etruscan tumuli which are always well fitted and consisted of tuff or sandstone, for example the necropolis „Crocifisso del Tuffo“ (Fig. 43).

It is a known but neglected fact, that the Iron age Etruscans also built cairns and dolmens, which are typical for the northern and western European Megalithic cultures, of the Neolithic and the Bronze age, for example cairn-like tumuli of Saturnia and Populonia (Fig. 44) with a dolmen-chamber. And they also have tumuli with tholoi-chambers like Megalithic corbelled roofs of the North and West, for example the tholos „La Montagnola“ of Quinto Fiorentino (Fig. 45).

The stone chambers

It was a lucky moment when I recognized the „Zwerchhälde“ of Sternenfels to be the biggest Megalithic monument of Europe, which was misunderstood for centuries as an ordinary rubble heap of a quarry. But there ist no other explanation possible, because this „heap“ fills the whole quarry, is nearly 20 m high and so steep that it simply could not consist of rubble at all. It would have been already collapsed a long time ago, if not constructed throughout of massive walls. I informed officials at the Landesdenkmalamt in Karlsruhe (Department of Ancient Monuments) about this discovery, but they didn’t believe me, because there was no Megalithic portal visible. Not before spring 2000 we found the first stone chamber, well-preserved and passable, not at this quarry but at a distance of only 3 kilometers, the Sommerhälde chamber near Kürnbach (See Fig. 22 & Fig. 23), but still the officials did not react.
Fig. 50: Sommerhälde, excavation This stone chamber is constructed of walls, which are built without mortar. The ceiling consists of heavy slabs of sandstone. This kind of architecture is not of the present, of the Middle Ages or of Antiquity, it is typical for the Megalithic period. The ground plan of the chamber is of an L-form, like chambers in the Morbihan-region of western France, e. g. of Goerem (see Fig. 12d). You can compare the portal and the chamber to the reconstructed cairns of Bougon in western France (Fig. 46), or to the cairn of Barnenez (Fig. 47). The dimensions, too, are comparable. The contours are almost equal (Fig. 48 & Fig. 49). In Barnenez you have eleven chambers, here only one, but there are indications of more chambers, which are now destroyed, because a big part of the building is missing.
We digged out the former extent of the outer wall (Fig. 50). It is always straight, but the corpus of the remaining structure recedes. So we have to conclude that this part of masonry was pillaged. If there had been other chambers with such big stone slabs, they could have been used for stone-mason work. 

Martin Kößler, the first discoverer of this stone chamber, informed the Landesdenkmalamt already in 1992, but one the officials misconcepted it as a shelter from the times of the Thirty Years War (17th century). In the same „quarry“, Kößler stumbled on the next stone passage, the „Steingang“ (Fig. 51a), which stretches parallel to a rock wall deep in the ground (Fig. 52). Looking from above we can see that it is covered with long and narrow stone slabs, the visible examples are worked out uniformely, similiar to those in Saqqara/Egypt (Fig. 51b). And when we made photographs of the interior, we detected that the covered parts have the same stone slab ceiling. The „Steingang“ is the first aim of our excavation project and after all, we got an excavation license for it by Dr. Biel of the Landesdenkmalamt in Stuttgart. 

In Schmie we know four visible portals and another two which are still covered. But this necropolis posseses not less than 20 cairns and therefore we must assume a similar number of stone chambers or more. Because this big cemetery completely belongs to private hand, it was not possible to make excavations. And the proprietors are not willing to give us permission at the moment, although the portals look really promising (see Fig. 14, Fig. 15, Fig. 16, Fig. 17 & Fig.18).

The „Keller“ is the most visible entrance one of the cairns at Schmie. The name „cellar“ suggests, that the chamber is subterranean, maybe accessible over a staircase leading downwards. There were no more informations available from the owners, only a sad story about some young rascals, who walled in a playfellow for three days in this passage, before the police came and released him. At this time in the 1970ies the portal was filled up with rubble, to prevent people from entering.

The „Schmiede“ is said to have been a depot of a stonemason, who converted the big blocks and slabs of the cairns. The rear part of the chamber was separated by a wall, to keep children away and the portal was narrowed down. Now the entrance and the ground in front of it is filled up nearly to the ceiling.

The portal, which we call (after the discoverer) „Dübbers I“ was found on the 1st of April 2000. The ceiling slabs are broken, but the edifice of the dry layed walls is well visible. „Dübbers II“ was discovered on the 2nd  of April 2000 and is filled up to the ceiling by rubble. The entrance is covered by an intact, heavy and massive stone slab, also the whole of the following passage, which we photographed by a cautiously inserted camera. Because a permanent cold draught comes out, we presume a big and maybe undisturbed cavity behind. Two more but almost complete covered entrances are demonstrable in the „Steingrub“ (stone-pit), which in the automobile tourist-map is already called „Steingrab“ (stone-grave).

The most promising stone passage we discovered on the Marsberg near Würzburg-Randersacker in 2001 in compagny of Uwe Topper and Gernot Geise and more friends. (see Fig. 12b). This imposing tunnel is accessible walking upright (Fig. 53). The walls consists mostly  of compact stones, partially of big blocks at the base. Massive stone slabs cover the narrow passage. After entering 10 - 12 meters you reach a right angle turn to the left, and within roughly  8 meters the ceiling or roof of big slabs becomes stepwise lower and ends at the deepest of the ceiling-slabs (Fig. 54). Parallel to the first ceiling-step there is a stone-step on the ground. The others are covered under rubble. Therefore we must presume that, paralell to the stepwise lowering ceiling, the steps of a staircase are leading down to an unknown and blocked chamber.

This reminds us of Etruscan tumuli-chambers, which are also excavated maybe 6 or more meters down into the rock, and are only accessible by very steep staircases. When we consider, that Etruscan necropolises developed out of the rock, because it was the perfect protection for such chambers, we have to assume that Celtic necropolises had the same intention. So far  nobody did suspect such parallels!

Problems of diffusion and migration

The Megalithic territory spreads all over Europe, but its center of diffusion lies in the Atlantic West and North of the continent. You find such monuments in northern Germany as far south as Hesse, also in Switzerland up to the German border, in France in the Vosges also near the German border, but the whole of southern Germany is a Megalithic Terra X. Now the new finds close this gap. 

It is still to early to date these discoveries to a distinct epoch, so long as dateable finds have not been made. Investigations of the stone chambers have not been possible so far, because no official license had been issued (but now a license was given for the „Steingang“ of Kürnbach). Only some petroglyphs at the rock walls point to Neolithic but also Roman times. The engravings of bull-skulls at the Zwerchhälde in Sternenfels (Fig. 55) and at the Sommerhälde in Kürnbach (Fig. 56) seem to be very equal to similar ones at the Neolithic alleé couverte of Züschen in Hessen (Fig. 57). The outline of a running horse at a ceiling-slab in the passage of a Würzburg cairn (Fig. 58) is reminiscent of such of the 40 petroglyphs at the rock walls of the Kriemhildenstuhl near Bad Dürkheim (Fig. 59). This „quarry“ is, you know, dated to Roman times. But even the responsible excavator Dr. Sprater pointed out the similarities of some symbols to Bronze Age and Neolithic engravings of the north, especially to such of the rocks at Bohuslän in Sweden.

It seems rather strange that the ground plans of Megalithic monuments of very different times and regions should be similiar. If you compare the layout plans of the Megalithic grave „Maes Howe“ on the Orkney Islands (2600 B.C.), the Mycenan tholos „Treasury of Atreus“ (1300 B. C.) and the Etruscan „La Montagnola“ (700 B. C.), you find no great differences (Fig. 60a,60b & 60c). This kind of grave-architecture is said to be stretching over a period of at least 2000 years, not counting the first corbelled roofs occuring at least 1000 years before. How shall people have been able to pass on such sophisticated principles of architecture over such incomprehensible spaces of time, over  distances of many thousand kilometers?

Recent discoveries implicate, that there are much more relations, for example to the megalithic findings in Northern America. The excavations of 2003/2004 in Oberderdingen on the Ölmühlenkopf-hill which happened beneath a cairn (80 x 60 mtrs.) discovered a rock-altar with an oblique table-top and a chamfer, that seem to have contained the blood of an ancient immolations (Fig. 61a & 61b). Such a sacrificial table beneath a cairn is known at Mistery Hill, North Salem, New Hampshire, 40 miles north of Boston – America´s  Stonehenge (Fig. 62a & 62b). Dr. Barry Fell of Harvard University has found various inscriptions including Ogham, Phoenician and Iberian Punic script throughout this site. As Dr. Christine Pellech, Vienna, Austria saw the quarry walls of Sternenfels, she recognized at once the same scripts between the grooves (Fig. 63a & 63b). Buth the shock of all were five little groovings in a line, each not more than one hand distant of the other and not bigger than a thumbnail, showing animals, especially vanished species like mammout and rhinoceros (Fig. 64).

Problems of chronology

This discovery seems to be completely unbelievable. But if you consider the ideas of the chronology-reviewers, f. e. Dr. Horst Friedrich, who wrote an interesting book about the ice-age 11 in which he traces back the expansion of glaciers to only one global cataclysm, you have to reduce the huge geologic period (~100.000 years) to an only short time of maybe weeks or hours.

The new findings point out that the spread of Megalithic monuments is not limited to the coastal regions but ranges all over the interior continent. From such a  point of view it seems more probable to see the new discoveries in southern Germany at least as a link between the north-western European Megalithic cultures and Etruscan necropolises, because the periods in question stretch over the whole Neolithic period, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, nearly 5000 years. Have the Megalithic monuments of southern Germany been produced during the Iron Age?

It is thought-provoking, why the Celts of the Iron Age should have been able to invent the iron-plough, but allegedly were incapable of using iron chisels and pickaxes to hew stone for architectual purposes. Greeks and Etruscans built temples and monuments of stone, but Celts should have built only mounds of earth? There are many prehistoric iron-pits in the whole of southern Germany. Should this metal have only been used to produce iron-swords and lances? This seems to be rather a prejudice, based on antique traditions about barbarians of the north, mere propaganda.

Some nonconformist scholars have developed theories about a necessary shortening of our official chronology and calendar. Heribert Illig has e. g. argued 12, that the whole Megalithic period could be a phenomen of the Iron Age.

It is rather impossible to produce such perfect ashlars, as we find in the southern German rock necropolises, with Stone Age implements only. Heribert Illig and Gunnar Heinsohn 13 pointed out very convincingly, that the pyramids at Gizah must have been built by using iron tools, as Herodot indeed reported. Especially the granite sarkophag of the king´s chamber of the Cheops Pyramid can only be worked out by steel, emphasizes Illig.

Could it be that because in southern Germany iron was so easy to get, the slabs for chambers and facades could be worked very precisely? Were people in the northern and western regions forced, because of the lack of iron and quarries, to use the boulders as they found it? Maybe this is the reason, why similar gigantic monuments of the north have a more primitve outlook.

This might suggest that Neolithic and iron-using cultures existed contemporaneously in northern and southern Germany and built the same long-barrow-like monuments of stone. And beyond chronological considerations it is possible that the monuments of the south were prototypes for the north and west of Europe, maybe even for the south. We know only two huge rock-necropolises of the Etruscans, but here we have many of them, many of them still undiscoverd, and the Würzburg necropolis is more spacious than the Banditacci necropolis of Cerveteri. It has a length of 1,5 km, the Cerveteri-necropolis stretches only 1,2 km.

During the last two centuries, since Montelius, the founder of the present archaeological chronology, the period of the „Urnenfelder- und Seevölker-Wanderung“ (1200 - 800 B. C.) was discussed intensively, especially by Jürgen Spanuth 14. It was ascertained that from central Europe expansive migrations of nations started, which led to all directions, as mentioned by authors of antiquity, to Italy, to the Balkans, to Greece, Anatolia and the Levant. Egypt was nearly conquered by the „Sea Peoples“. The Australian archaeologist John Dayton 15followed these traces to Egypt and found also chronological incongruities. Under this aspect it seems more likely, that during this period Megalithic rock necropolises of central Europe reached northern Italy.

The Celts also conquered the Balkans, Greece, Anatolia, where they founded the Celtic kingdom „Galatia“ and, what is only transmitted in an ignored Byzantine source, the Levant and Syria. Celtic torques were found in Ugarit. Could it be possible that the celtic migrations of 387 and 269 B. C. are identical to the migrations at the end of the Bronze Age? We cannot discuss the problems of migration and diffusion without considering problems of chronology. There are indeed reasons to question the chronological framework of archaeological datings. Heribert Illig and Gunnar Heinsohn want to take out approximately 2000 years of Egyptian dynasties and European prehistory, and 300 years of the Christian calendar. Chronology-reviewer like Christopher Marx (RMNG) and Anatolij Fomenko 16 suggest, that the whole time before 1350 Anno Domini was completly faked by medieval historians, which would confirm my discovery of an older Ars Mundi calendar in South-West-Germany before about 15001. This calendar counted the year 1496 as III496 (3496).

One could argue that the elobarated methods of C14-, dendro-chronological and warven-dating confirm the present chronology. But on which doubtful procedures and wrong premises these methods are based, you can read in the very competent book by Prof. H. U. Niemitz and Chr. Blöss „C14-Crash“17. These methods are suspect, because they are adjusted to standards which are relying on established chronology. Libby, the founder of the C14-method, calibrated it at already predated finds from  Egyptian tombs. But I´m convinced that it would be possible, to new-calibrate the C14-method at a shortened chronology and it would produce much better and more precise results than the inexplicably wide-spread dates used  today.

The prospects

Because people used these old ruins at every time in history as stone suppliers, their image as ordinary quarries is established. Even the official archaeologists are influenced by this common  misconception, because these necropolises were indeed misused as quarries over a long time. In the words of the officials they are considered as ordinary heaps which are surrounded by walls to protect the quarrymen from crumbling rubble.

But there exist no reports that quarrymen did such senseless work, and if you imagine yourself in the situation of such a quarry, you realize that the quarrymen always had to work for the rubble heap. All material seems to be heaped up and none left the place. And if this heaps may really consist of rubble it would be senseless to draw a wall around, because every new rubble had to be heaped up over the wall and would cover this wall at the end. Because a rubble heap is growing, the next wall has to be build, a so-called Sisyphos-work, for which no-one ever paid a dime. If the walls should have been built after the stoppage of quarrying work, there was no reason to do this, because it would have been easier to close the whole quarry to protect people. Above all in former times accident preventions did not exist. And it is absolute nonsense to wall in an only three meter high „heap“ including a stone chamber, like you find in Kürnbach.

In 1990 I found the first cairn, the „Zwerchhälde“ of Sternenfels, and there was no portal visible. But since the year 2000 we count about six chambers in the Kraichgau and Zabergäu region and three perfect preserved stone passages near Würzburg, one which promises an undisturbed chamber deep in the rock and can be explored easily. It was not possible to search for dateable material, so long as no stone chamber was identified. But as we found the first one in Kürnbach, I contacted a real specialist, the archaeologist Dr. Diether Ziermann of the „Landesamt für Kultur und Archäologie“ in Stade /Westfalen. He wrote a Megalithic standard work 18and he was alarmed as he saw the photographs of the portals and monuments we disvovered here. He cannot understand, why the officials hesitate to investigate it. But he is not from this region and  the official departements are reluctant to begin digging work because of lack of funds.

For that reason we started an application at the end of may 2001 to be allowed to begin with a first re-approved dig, although strictly speaking as yet no member of our „Cairn-Forschungsgesellschaft“ is qualified for sophisticated excavation work. And it is doubtful if eventual finds would not be recognized. But in Baden-Württemberg it is possible that laymen like us get permissions for excavation projects. So we had to dig. The obvious results you saw in this report.

But we need support in every way. Only with finds, which can be dated precisely, we can convince the archaelogists of the official departements in Karlsruhe and Stuttgart, which are responsible for the excavation and preservation of such ancient monuments, although our architctural report should be illuminating enough. This is our main problem at this moment. We are lucky that the university of Karlsruhe in Baden gives us support. Philipp Heidinger from the Departement of Geophysics and his collegiate friends have been making geomagnetic and geoelectric surveys since 2004 to detect cavities or vugs, the  suspected undiscovered and inviolated burial chambers with rich grave goods. Though the earth detections are very elaborate and time-consuming we found two until now unknown hollows in the cairns of Sternenfels and Kürnbach (Fig. 65).
So we can say, there is a totally brandnew field of research and a good chance for young archaeologists to start their own excavation project! Almost 9 or 10 discovered stone chambers are waiting for research! We only need sponsors!

Our appeal: Come and see the cairns! You are welcome! We hope you will realize the dimensions of these discoveries. For us there can be not the slightest doubt that these monuments belong to the cultural heritage of all mankind, but especially of Germany, which from now on must be categorized among the great civilizations of prehistory, and, according to chronological considerations, the time of Antiquity.

This contribution is meant only as a first announcement for readers, who are fluent in reading English texts but are unable to read my above mentioned book, which has so far only been published in German. I hope that further articles with more and detailed information about excavation results of these most remarkable prehistorical monuments will follow. And I do hope that this text, taken together with the accompanying photos and other illustrations, will in the meantime already convey a realistic impression to my readers of what we are speaking about.

Thanks to Dr. Horst Friedrich (Wörthsee) and Uwe Topper for helping with this English version


  1. Haug, K. Walter, “Die Entdeckung deutscher Pyramiden – Sensationelle Megalith-Ruinen einer versunkenen Hochkultur im Mittelgebirge“, Cernunnos, Walzbachtal 2003, (ISBN 3000076395).
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  10. Lehner, Mark, „Geheimnis der Pyramiden“, Orbis, 1997.
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A tentative survey of lately discovered, so far unsuspected prehistoric monuments in southern Germany is presented, which seem to belong to the Celtic period of the beginning Iron Age, but also to the Megalithic cultures. These may be compared to the Cairns of Britanny, Ireland and Scotland and to the „Hünengräber“ of northern Germany and the longbarrows of Great Britain, but we also find affinities to Etruscan necropolises, dolmens and tholoi and even Egyptian step pyramids. Though known for a long time and even recognizable in topographic maps, the true nature or destination of these most imposing prehistoric monuments and its stone chambers has so far not been realized, because they were misunderstood as overgrown rubble heaps within ancient quarries. Quite obviously we have here unexpected evidence for cultural diffusion during the Megalithic period, and it is in this connection that also the reliability of our mainstream chronology for these times is discussed.


Es wird ein erster Überblick gegeben über versuchsweise der keltischen Eisenzeit, aber auch den Megalith-Kulturen zuzuordnende, neu entdeckte Monumente im süddeutschen Raum. Es handelt sich bei diesen um am ehesten mit den Cairns der Bretagne, Irlands und Schottlands oder norddeutschen Hünengräbern und britischen longbarrows vergleichbare vorgeschichtliche Bauwerke, aber auch Ähnlichkeiten zu etruskischen Fels-Nekropolen, Dolmen- und Tholoi-Gräbern und sogar ägyptischen Stufenpyramiden sind zu erkennen. Die Bedeutung dieser Bauwerksruinen und ihrer Steinkammern wurde bisher nicht erkannt, weil man sie für überwachsene Abraumhalden innerhalb alter Steinbruchareale hielt. Im Zusammenhang zur nunmehr noch deutlicher zu erkennenden megalithzeitlichen Kulturdiffusion wird die Frage der Zuverlässigkeit unserer Mainstream-Chronologie diskutiert.

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