German Stonehenge on Beacon Hill, Ermingen

photo by Philipp Thom, with permission

For our 57th large permanent replica, we go back to Germany, southern Germany in the state of Baden-Württemberg, near the city of Ulm, to the town of Ermingen, where there is a longstanding, possibly ancient tradition of beacon burning on the first Sunday of Lent. Since this site, on a prominence with a clear view in all directions, needs to be kept clear for the beacon, someone came up with the idea of placing stones to track the movement of the sun.

And once you bring up the concept of tracking the sun with stones set in the ground, it’s never long before someone mentions Stonehenge. Hence this rather nice if odd trilithon. That lintel looks like a little cap, doesn’t it?

We don’t know much about this one–who did the planning and building, what kind of stone was used, how it was assembled. Did they use mortice-and-tenon construction as at Stonehenge? All we know is what we found at this link from Stadt Ulm Online’s Ermingen page (a couple of good pictures there, too). [Note: the term translated there as radio beacon would be better translated as relay or broadcast beacon. Funken doesn’t mean radio on this context.]

Herr Thom has posted a nice video of the stone circle and a walk through the trilithon. Click here to see it. Nicely done! Translation of the caption there includes this: “On the days of the summer solstice and the winter sun turn within the stone circle determined points are illuminated by the stone gate through of the sun.” At certain times of the year the sun shines through the trilithon onto special points within the circle.

Ermingen, by the way, is known among fossil buffs as the site of the Turritellenplatte, a unique outcropping of rock rich with fossils of Turritella, a kind of mollusk shell. We don’t know whether any of that rock was used for this structure, but if it was, we would approve. That fossil/megalith connection is in need of strengthening.

Ermingen is also surrounded by many ancient sites, including a cave, Hohle Fels, that is thought to have been inhabited as early as 30,000 years ago. Found there so far were a Venus figurine and bone and ivory flutes, the earliest musical instruments ever found. Brilliant stuff! Let’s go visit!

Score: 6 druids. We like the site, we like the beacon, a very old way of communicating, and we like the fact that there’s a circle rather than just a trilithon. Now we wonder what new large permanent replica will pop up next!

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