Denghoog

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Interior of the Denghoog, from Fians, Fairies and Picts, by David MacRitchie

Denghoog is an ancient monument dating from 3000 BC near Wenningstedt-Braderup on the German Island of Sylt.

Mr. W.G. Black speaks of it thus:—

"There is some confusion as to King Finn's dwelling. As doctors differ, we may be allowed to claim that it was the Denghoog, close to Wenningstedt, if only because we descended into that remarkable dwelling. Externally merely a swelling green mound, like so many others in Sylt, entrance is gained by a trap-door in the roof, and descending a steep ladder, one finds himself in a subterranean chamber, some seventeen by ten feet in size [5.2 m × 3.0 m], the walls of which are twelve huge blocks of Swedish granite;[Pg 72] the height of the roof varies from five feet to six feet [1.5–1.8 m]. The original entrance appears to have been a long narrow passage, seventeen feet [5.2 m] long and about two feet wide and high. This mound was examined by a Hamburg professor in 1868, who found remains of a fireplace, bones of a small man, some clay urns, and stone weapons. Later, a Kiel professor is said to have carried off all he found therein to Kiel Museum, and so far we have not been able to trace the published accounts of his investigations."[1]

Mr. Christian Jensen, of Oevenum, Föhr, gave this account of Denghoog:

Professor Wibel's sketch

:"The sketches of the Denhoog which I enclose [viz., the Ground Plan and Sectional View] are from the drawings of Professor Wibel, who conducted the excavation of it in 1868. From his and C.P. Hansen's observations I contribute the following statements: Originally, the mound was higher, but in 1868 it had the form of a truncated cone, 4½ mètres [say 14 feet 9 inches (4.50 m)] in height. As may be seen from the picture, it slopes away to the south above the original passage into the mound, which the dweller made use of as his entrance; so that the extent is very considerable. The present entrance, as may be seen from the view of the interior, was made from above, at the north side, directly opposite the original entrance.... Dr. Wibel says: 'At the south side of the chamber is the doorway for ingress and egress, with the passage itself leading from it. This passage, which was 6 metres [19 feet 8 inches] in length, was lined with upright blocks of granite and gneiss, with a roofing and floor made of flagstones of the same kinds of stone. It was opened up all the way to the mouth of the passage. This [the outer orifice] lay close to the extremity of the earth and near the floor of the mound, was closed with earth only, not with a stone, and measured about 1 metre [3 feet 3.4 inches] in height, and 1 13 metres (4.4 ft) in breadth. On account of these dimensions ... one[Pg 73] can only creep through with difficulty, and for that reason the plan does not show with accuracy the position of the wall-slabs, and their number is merely conjectured to be nine."

Immediately after this excavation of 17–19 September 1868, C.P. Hansen writes as follows:—

"'There are in the island of Sylt hillocks of ancient origin, for the most part pagan burying-places, but some of which may have served as the dwelling-places of a primitive people. One such hillock has just been opened at Wenningstedt. The interior was found to be a chamber, seventeen feet [5.2 m] long, ten feet [3.0 m] in breadth, and from 5 to 6 feet [1.5 to 1.8 m] in height, with a covered passage about twenty-two feet [6.7 m] long, trending southward. The walls of this underground room were composed of twelve large granite blocks, regularly arranged; the roof consisted of three still larger slabs of the same kind of rock; the stones which formed the passage were smaller. At one corner of the floor of the cellar there was a well-defined fireplace, and near it were urns and flint implements; in the opposite corner there were many bones lying, apparently unburned, probably those of the last dweller in the cavern.'"
"... On the floor of the chamber, three separate divisions were distinctly visible, of which one, situated on the east side, showed traces of having been a fireplace. Professor Wibel found several fragments of human bones, which evidently belonged only to one individual, as no portion was duplicated; also a few animals' bones. There was an extraordinary number of fragments of pottery, belonging to about 24 different urns, of which 11 could be put together. Their form and ornamentation were both fine and varied, an interesting witness to the ceramics of the grey past.... Among the stone implements found were a great many flint-knives; two stone hatchets, two chisels, and a gouge, all of[Pg 74] flint, and a disc of porphyry were also obtained. Several mineral substances, quartzite, rubble-stones, gravel, ochre, a sinter-heap—these are less interesting than the seven amber beads which, with some charcoal, completes the list of objects found. Referring to former investigations of galleried mounds [gangbauten], which seem to have been used in some cases as burying-places, in others as dwellings, Dr. Wibel observes, in answer to the question resulting from his discovery, as to whether the Denghoog ought to be regarded as a sepulchre or as a dwelling, that, as Nilsson has already said, all gallery-mounds were originally dwellings, and occasionally became utilised as tombs. In the case of the Denghoog, this fact is demonstrated by the fireplace, the scattered potsherds, the amber beads, &c."[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Heligoland, Edin. and Lond., 1888, pp. 84-85
  2. ^ "Der Denghoog bei Wenningstedt" in the Beilage zu Nr. 146 der Flensburger Nachrichten, June 25, 1893

Coordinates: 54°56′25.50″N 8°19′45.00″E / 54.9404167°N 8.3291667°E / 54.9404167; 8.3291667