The southwest of Funen was the site of a large cult centre in the early Neolithic period, between 4000 and 2800 BC. It was located on a headland bounded on two sides by rivers and steep cliffs. At the open end, a 572-metre palisade enclosed an area covering 8.5…
Although palisades and ditches tend to be associated with fortifications, there is no indication that these were used for defence. Such Sarup enclosures, as they are known, were more likely used for religious gatherings. Archaeologists have found numerous traces of ritual acts, and surprisingly, these were performed at the ditches along the palisade and not in the enclosure. The Sarup enclosures date from the same period as the large passage graves which were built nearby. Perhaps the palisade was constructed to enclose an area that was sacred and consecrated for the dead. The human bones may indicate that the dead were laid out here for some time before being laid to rest in the passage graves. Sarup enclosures exist elsewhere in Denmark and many of them are just as large as the one at Sarup.
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