Pagans in Bavaria: Celtic Grave Mounds

On my hiking map of the Ammersee region, I found two red stars placed on a wooded area north of Schondorf. The map’s key uses this symbol for grave mounds or ringwalls, a number of which are to be found in Bavaria. Surprised to find some just down the road, we set off to look for them. Going mainly by instinct, we turned off the road at the big strawberry between the Aldi and Schondorf and parked there, then headed into the woods on foot.
This was not the ideal entrance point, but we couldn’t find a better one. Trying to walk toward the place indicated by the stars, we veered off the path pretty early. On the other side of some swampy grassland surrounded by forest, I could make out something that looked higher than the rest of the forest floor.

I think this is a mound. The Beau was not entirely convinced. No signs, no path, just strange little hills covered with trees and moss, and a hell of a lot of biting insects (I was wearing shorts — “typisch amerikanisch”, said the Beau — a mistake I won’t make again.)

Here appear to be three. It’s not easy to tell in the photos, but they really were different from the surrounding landscape. (Of course, it’s impossible to tell just by looking — hills like this could have nearly anything underneath them, from old war debris to landfill. ) Local websites mention that there are fourteen such Celtic grave mounds in the area, but nothing more about them. We’ll keep looking.

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3 Responses to Pagans in Bavaria: Celtic Grave Mounds

  1. Paschberg says:

    Maybe you should read Alfred Watkins´ “The Old straight track” on mounds and alignements (leys). It shows some typical topographic features. Especially picture no. 1 looks like a mound.

  2. Marcellina says:

    There were several of them spread out over maybe 1000 square meters, but I did not want to stand still too long to count them (because of the insects and the swampy ground there). I have seen photographs of other Celtic remains (Viereckschanzen, usw) and found these mounds to be very similar. Also, many had curving trenches at the tops, as if they had been dug out a long time ago — maybe by researchers, maybe by looters… obviously the Gemeinde knows about them but we saw no on-site information at all.
    I’ll look for the Watkins, thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Marcellina says:

    Correction: over maybe 4000 square meters — they all looked to be within an acre of land.

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