Stone carvings on Bornholm

by Jeanne Cordua

The Bornholm stone carvings are really worth a visit, and because of the natural bedrock, granite, many, many more than in the rest of Denmark have been preserved.

The stone carvings date back to the bronze age, presumed to be about 2600 – 3000 years old.

A super site for the study of the fantastic imagery of the Bornholm stone carvings is this site! RECOMMENDED! Here you will also find directions to some of the more famous stone carvings, including the field Madsebakke (coordinates: 55.16.54 N, 14.47.19 E).

During 2004 and 2005 several new sites have been found, and the Bornholm motives are especially the ship and the wheel cross, but footprints can also be found, in one place a person, too. Besides this, the omnipresent round holes are something, you may be lucky to find in many places on the island.

What do all these figures mean?

As a rule, the wheel cross symbolises the sun and its passing over the sky, but the four arms of the cross form also the world corners and the four seasons. So you may also see the wheel cross a symbol for our Earth (i.e. the astrological symbol of Earth being a wheel cross). Please also read my page about Wheel crosses and world ages – find the point in my menu on the left.

The ship sails across the sky with the sun on board – but the hors may also be drawing the sun chariot. Again, the ship may have several meanings – it sails with the sun, but with great possibility also with the moon and the stars (or constellations). The dead sailed from this world to the netherworld, such as it is also known from ancient Egypt. Finally, nothing hinders us in viewing our own world as a ship, sailing through space (even without speculating whether the world was seen as round or flat)!

If you do an Internet search on Bronze Age Denmark, many interesting sites will pop up.

Our forefathers studied the skies very thoroughly, both to keep track of the seasons – sowing and harvest in an agricultural society, but also for orientation in moving from place to place. Know the movement of the sun and you always know where you are! The same thing was relevant at night: By knowing where north was, you could always find your way. Furthermore, the great constellations such as Orion, Cygnus (the Swan), the Pegasus square etc. played a role of orientation according to season. Orion is in Northeast in Novembre and low in Southwest in March-April. The Swan is in zenit at midsummer and far into autumn, and in September-October the Pegasus square stands high in the East, a little below and to the right of Cassiopeia (looking like a W). You can find good star maps here.

Cup marks (little, round holes) are usually seen as fertility symbols, but in some places they may be interpreted as star constellations.


But now for some pictures from Bornholm along with a few of my own discoveries / theories. Look at Stone Carvings and Astronomy in my menu on the left.