Saturday, November 13, 2010


What is a Dolmen? Basically two large upright huge stones with a third horizontal stone covering it - like a giant table, depicting a rectangle or trapeze. Sometimes more than two vertical stones support the capstone. 
Dolmens can be found all over the world - in Europe, the Middle east and in Korea. 
They are called in German Huenengrab, Huene, meaning "giant", which in itself could be interesting to research.
There is a bit of disagreement about the origins of the word dolmen. It seems to be of Celtic/Bretonic roots, "men", meaning stone and "tol", which could mean "table", but also "hole". There is not much knowledge of the purpose of these megalithic structures. Ritual facilities? Prehistoric tombs? Astronomical grounds? Spiritual places?

Here in Israel hundreds of dolmens have been found in the Golan Heights. Many have collapsed but a lot of them can be seen exactly the way they were erected about up to 4000 years ago, starting roughly at the Bronze Age through the Neolithic and Iron Age.
At the Golan the dolmens are built from local large slabs of basalt stones and they are thought to have covered burial chambers for nomadic tribes that wandered the region, although no skeletal remains were evident. Some of them are encircled by rocks, others are covered by piles of earth and stones (tumuli), most of them stand free.
There are several clusters of dolmens throughout the Golan. We visited yesterday the one east of ancient Gamla. Between the Wadi Gamla  and the Wadi Daliyot more than 150 Dolmens can be seen on both sides of the road.
Dolmens have a very mystical flair about them and they attract not only scientists and historians, but also spiritual people...
Photos by Uri Eshkar. 

I did explain the barren ground in the region around Gamla at comments, have a look.


Eva said...

What a revelation! I mean -- everything. This backpack fell from heaven, didn't it?
Manchmal denke ich, ob das Lande- und Starbasen für die Cherubim sein sollten? Die man in der Hoffnung baute, sie möchten doch noch mal landen?

Yael said...

Koennte sein Eva, waere doch so schoen - ich wuerde sie willkommen heissen! Was fuer ein einfallsreicher herrlicher Gedanke! Das waere mal ein Wunder!

And yes, the backpack fell out of the sky - for someone nice of course! Born in the year of the tiger! :-)

2 B's World said...

Was man hier bei Dir immer wieder lernen und bestaunen kann, ist wirklich toll.
Wäre es früher in der Schule bloß auch immer so interessant gewesen. ;-)
Tolle Bilder, die uns in eine Welt entführen, die so fremd und weit entfernt scheint und gleichzeitig völlig fasziniernd ist.

Liebe Grüße von 2 B's

QuiltNCards said...

Hi Yael,
I love your pictures of the dolmen. There was a show on educational TV recently that showed a bunch of them. It was discussing the idea that they were built by UFO aliens - supposing that people of ancient times would not have the expertise to lift the heavy rocks.
I don't go along with that theory, but to me they look alot like the "traditional" burial structures made by Plains Indians in our country before white men destroyed their culture. The body was placed on the top for the winds to take the spirit of the deceased. The structures here were made of sticks, but had the same "table" on top.

Love your bag displayed there.

So I wonder about your country. What kind of animals live in the harsh countryside? Do you have lizards or snakes?
Love your blog. So educational.
<3 Terri

Irmi said...

Liebe Yael,
mit Dolmen kam ich zum erstenmal auf Malta in Berührung. Ich war damals 20 Jahre alt und seit dieser Zeit fasziniert mich die Megalithkultur.
Dein Artikel ist toll. danke.
Liebe Grüße

Hilde said...

Dolmens are found all over Europe, also a few in Norway I think, but I did not know there were so many of them in Israel. It's fascinating that the same ancient megalithic monuments are found all over the world. I love your post and photos, Yael! So interesting!

(When reading your post I came to think of that "Dolmen" is actually a Norwegian surname).

Hope you are enjoying your weekend, Yael :)

Smithy said...

Fascinating! Yael, you are a mine of information!

Yael said...

Terri, the barren ground around the dolmens you noticed as harsh countryside is due to a wildfire we had this summer in the Gamla region. Usually at the current time of the year the ground is covered high with the dry vegetation of spring and summer The Golan hills and the Hermon are really a paradise in those seasons, especially in spring, green and lush and overflowing with wildflowers. There is also an abundance of animal life present, like deer, boars, jackals, foxes, and of course snakes, lizards, scorpions, turtles, birds, small ones and big ones, (like eagles and vultures)and insects.
Many small villages are strewn over the area, the inhabitants growing vine and fruit trees with big success, providing their income.
No harsh countryside there at all!

Yael said...

Oh, yes and while researching a bit I was very surprised that the largest amount of dolmens exist in - KOREA!
Many interesting questions can be asked, waiting for answers! Why in Korea - how does this connect with Europe and the Middle east (there are dolmens in Jordan as well!)?

The megalith temples in Malta are much more ancient, about 7000 years old - the stones and slabs there are huge - the history quite mysterious - a VERY fascinating place to visit!
I am planning to write a post about Malta in the future - the problem is that we visited there before we had a digital camera and I have to scan the photos I wish to post.

Jouir la vie said...

Als mythische und auch heute bei bestimmten Gruppen gebräuchliche Zeichen kenne ich kleine Anordnungen verschiedener Steine schon, doch diese Art, die Du hier vorstellst, sie ist ungleich geheimnisvoller...

Sei lieb gegrüßt

Bernstein said...

Dein Beitrag ist wieder unheimlich lehrreich und hat mich neugierig gemacht. Die Bilder sind sehr sehr schön und vermitteln einen tollen Eindruck zu Deinen Worten.
Hier in unserer nächsten Umgebung habe ich solche Steine noch nicht gesehen. Ob es das wohl auch bei uns in der Nähe gibt, ich werde nachforschen.
GlG Bernstein

Sheva said...

Yael! I LOVE the backpack. It is beautiful. The Dolmen look very interesting, a little like one of the “pieces” from the Stonehenge in England.

wanda miller said...

BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL post..thank you!