Was a giant boulder the centre of a Stone Age ritual area or meeting place?

The 2021 excavation campaign of the “Relics in the Moor”-project – led by Dr. Moritz Mennenga – was successfully completed by the end of August. The focus of the investigations in the Ahlen-Falkenberger Moor, district of Cuxhaven, was a potential stone box grave that had been discovered south of the Kleiner Ahlen as a result of geophysical surveys. First trenches of the student excavation team led by Anja Behrens showed that there was a collection of stones with a diameter of about 6 m and a height of about 1 m that were encircled an impressive giant boulder. Further investigations showed that the stone was a colossus weighing several tons that had been deposited there as a result of geological processes. It was not possible to recover the stone even with heavy equipment, as the boggy subsoil did not have enough stability under this load. A narrow stone circle was arranged around this boulder and a stone pack was piled up, which completely covered the boulder. In the eastern part of the findings a burnt post hole could be detected. It is now under debate whether this unique structure functioned as a ritual area or a as meeting place.