The Lost Fort

My Travel and History Blog, Focussing mostly on Roman and Mediaeval Times

28 Nov 2021
  It's NaNovember Again

The reason I didn't post anything in November is the usual one: National Novel Writing Month

And here's the winner certificate, meaning I managed to write 50K again, the 8th year in a row..

24 Oct 2021
  A Neolithic Necropolis – The Totenstatt near Oldendorf/Luhe

Neolithic Tombs can be found in various locations in northern Germany. I've already posted about the historical context and some finds here. Another group of tombs can be found in the 'Burial Site' (Totenstatt) near Oldendorf/Luhe (not far from Amelinghausen) in the Lüneburg Heath. Of course, I couldn't resist adding more big ol' stones to my collection.
Heath landcape with boulders belonging to old tombs

The most visible feature of the Burial Town are the late Neolithic stone tombs (known as hunebeds or dolmen), but there are more burials from other times still mostly hidden under the layer of earth, heather and trees. A number of Bronze Age tumuli (1600 – 1200 BCE) spread between the large tombs have not yet been researched – some of them are visible as flat stone circles hidden in the heather – and there are also several urn grave fields from the Iron Age and Migration Period, as well as burials from the Mesolithic. Overall, the site has been in use for 4,000 years.
Forested part of the Oldendorf Burial Town

The site has been turned into a little open air museum and landscape park thanks to financial support by the County of Lüneburg and the Development Funds Hamburg / Lower Saxony. There is a little museum displaying the finds in the tombs in Oldendorf, which unfortunately was closed. Corona has thrown a wench into the opening times of some museums; the small ones suffering especially.
View towards tomb III

The first to research the tombs was Ernst Sprockhoff (1892 – 1967) who made a career during the Nazi regime and studied and numbered several hundred burials in northern Germany. The Sprockhoff numbers are still used in classification of Neolithic burial sites.

The second was the praehistorian Friedrich Laux (born 1938) who excavated the site in the 1970ies. He established a chronology of the burials according to the finds within the grave chambers – mostly flint tools and ceramics – and the different ways of building the tombs, and drew a numbered plan which is used in most sources about the site.
View to tomb IV

The people who built the first tomb (tomb III, see below) belonged to the Funnelbeaker culture and migrated into the area about 3,700 BCE. They were not the first to travel there – remains of fireplaces and flint tools of the Mesolithic have been found – but the first to settle on the plateau at the shores where the Lopau brook confluences into the Luhe river. They came from settlements a few day marches in the east and had to stop here, since the ground further west was too sandy and nutrient-poor for agriculture.
Tomb III (Sprockhoff 685)

Tomb III (numbered after Laux; Sprockhoff 685) is the oldest burial on the site. It once had been 60 metres long and 7 metres wide; about 43 metres are still visible as embankment above ground, together with several of the 88 glacial erratics that once framed the tomb. Many stones have been lost, though, either taken away for repurpose, or tumbled; some can be spotted overgrown by heath.
Tomb III, closeup of some wall stones

The tomb still rises to 1.5 metres, but it must have been higher. The direction is north-east to south-west. Another tomb (IV) follows that alignment, but a third one (tomb I) follows an a south-east to north-west layout, so it is not clear whether those have been set up on purpose. It is not impossible, considering the fact that the Neolithic society had some knowledge of sun and moon patterns that obviously played a role in the cultural context.
A way on top of tomb III

At first, it was assumed the tomb was one without a chamber, but later excavations have shown that it had timbered chamber, visible by discolorations of the earth. The chamber, located in the south-eastern corner, had a size of 2 x 3.2 metres and was covered by flat stones. Friedrich Laux discovered remains of fires that once burned around the grave chamber.
Remains of tomb III, south-western end

West of the chamber was a tumulus of 4 metres in diameter covering a pit made of stones which contained another burial. A third was laid out on a 11 x 3 metres rectangular platform of flat granite stones, together with a flint hatchet and an arrowhead. More grave goods have not been found in this hunebed, though some may have gone missing over time.
Tomb III, a remaining capstone

It is interesting to note that those three different burials were afterwards covered with earth and the whole long tomb surrounded by glacial erratic boulders in typical Neolithic style. Likely, the three burials took place in comparably close temporal proximity, despite their different styles. The stone wall may have been set up first, even before the burials, but the filling up of the enclosure with earth happened in one step, as far as we can tell.
Wall of tomb III from a different angle

The next burial in chronologial order is tomb I (Sprockhoff 683). This one had a chamber made of large stones, like any good hunebed should. *grin* It is the odd one out with its south-east to north-west alignment. The chamber has been partly destroyed (see below).
Tomb I (Sprockhoff 683), remains of the surrounding wall

The tomb is 45 metres long and 6,5 to 7 metres wide and today still 1.5 to 2 metres high. Of the 76 glacial erratics that formed the framing wall only few remain in situ, some have tumbled and others were taken away in later times. There once had been 33 on both long sides and 5 each on the narrow edges. The tomb still makes quite an impression when you come walking around a bend in the path and suddenly stand in front of it.
Tomb 1, seen from a different angle

The burial chamber lies crossways to the alignment of the tomb, with the entrance to the south. The chamber consisted of three bays of two carrier stones (glacier erratics) and one capstone each, as well as a threshold stone. Only two of the carrier stones remain, as well as the threshold stone. The chamber has a size of 5.4 x 3.6 metres. The ground was made of packed loam with flint and granite splinters on a bed of field stones.
On the tomb hill

The chamber has been excavated by Laux in 1973. He found the remains of two bodies, together with two funnel beakers and two cups, another cup with a high handle, several flint arrowheads and a hatchet. I could not find any information about the gender of the bodies; likely there was no way to tell from the remains.
Tomb I, closing boulder on the narrow side of the chamber

Tomb II (Sprockhoff 684) is somewhat younger and different from the other burials on the site. It is not a hunebed, but an oval tumulus of about 20 metres in diameter and 2 metres in height. The burial was – contrary to the others on the site – not framed by a wall of glacial erratic boulders.
Tomb II (Sprockhoff 684)

Remains of the chamber are visible today. The chamber – of the passage grave type with an entrance tunnel ‒ is located in the middle of the tumulus. The chamber measures 5.2 x 1.6 metres and has four bays. The entrance was to the south-west where a stone is missing in the pattern. Two support stones each on the long sides are still in situ. On its south-eastern narrow end, the chamber has two support stones instead of the more customary single stone.
Tomb II, different angle with the entrance in the foreground

The earth covering the chamber was sandy and poor in nutrients, different to the two earlier burials where the earth was darker and fertile. The soil must have been leached over several generations of agriculture. Maybe the settlers had moved to a better place and the site was only used for burials at the time.
Tomb II, interior

Bone remains show that the dead were a man aged about 50 years and a woman of about 30 years. But most interesting is one of the grave goods, a ceramic cup with a high handle and a foot in the omphalos style, a fashion that can be found in metal vessels from the Aegean. Even the outline of the rivet that connect the handle to the body has been recreated in clay. There must have been trade contacts and cultural exchanges between this remote area in the Lüneburg Heath, still a Neolithic culture, and the Mediterranean where the Bronze Age had already begun.
Some remaining stones of tomb IV (Sprockhoff 686)

Tomb IV (Sprockhoff 686) is the youngest and also the most spectacular of the four burials. It once had 108 external stones, a number of which are still in situ; many have been taken away and some were dislocated over time (some have been relocated during the reconstruction). The dolmen is 80 metres long and abut 6 metres wide; the height is about 1.5 metres – it was likely a good deal higher when it was erected.
Spaces between boulders filled with drystone

The surrounding wall once had been a complete enclosure. There was not only a set of glacial erratic boulders; the spaces between them had been filled with ashlar. This feature has been reconstructed in some spots.
Tomb IV, the burial chamber

The burial chamber is still pretty much intact except for the roof, and is presented to the public. It is quite a looker, too. *grin* The chamber, located at the western end of the tomb, was excavated by the Dutch archaeologist Albert Egges van Giffen (1884 – 1973) in 1970. Chambers in the western end, with the entrance leading outside the dolmen (and not crosswise to the alignment of the hunebed, with an entrance 'inside' the earthenwall like in tomb I and III) is called a Holstein Chamber (Holsteiner Kammer).
Tomb IV, entrance to the chamber

The chamber is 8 metres long and 2 metres wide and consists of five bays. There are 12 supporting stones – five each for the long sides and one each for the narrow ends – and another two for the passage on the south-west side of the chamber. Originally, the chamber had 5 capstones and the passage another one; those are missing. The threshold stone survives. The boulders are leaning slightly inwards, the spaces between them are filled with drystones.
Tomb IV, interior

There have been two burials; the older one with the traditional grave goods of flint tools and ceramic, including models following Bronze Age patterns, as well as several drums. That older burial was partly removed and the remains covered by sand before the new bodies were placed. The ceramic that goes with those marks the change from the Funnelbeaker to the late Neolithic Globular Amphora culture that had moved in from the east.
Tomb IV, interior other side

As mentioned above, after the Neolithic, the site was also used by Bronze Age people (who left behind tumuli that are now mostly flattened) and later for urn field burials of the Iron Age and Migration time – the Langobards settled there for a time, for example. The tombs II and IV were still accessible at the time; a body belonging to the Iron Age has been buried at the entrance of tomb II.
The work of stone thieves on the boulder in the foreground (tomb IV)

Unfortunately, those big stones were quite popular with people about to build churches, house foundations and walls to separate fields. Many of the boulders have been dragged away and often chopped into smaller bits. Traces of an unsuccessful stone theft can be seen in the photo above.

The grave goods, as far as they were accessible, also attracted some interest – I would not be surprised if some real Bronze Age goods were pilfered (they're worth more than ceramics, after all) and have disappeared for good.
The remains of tomb III in the landscape

In 1853, the burial site was bought by request of King Georg of Hannover to prevent further stone pilfering and illegal digging.

The tumuli and urn graves that are sprinkled between the impressive dolmen and beyond – today barely visible – did not attract much interest for a long time. But modern methods of geophysical survey have shown that the necropolis was spread much farther than the extent of the Neolithic stone settings. A research project is going on right now.
Another view of tomb I

Sources Angelika Franz: Wandern zwischen Leben und Tod – Die Oldenburger Totenstatt, in: Archäologie in Deutschland 01/2021, p.67-71
Johannes Müller: Großsteingräber, Grabenwerke, Langhügel – Frühe Monumentalbauten Mitteleuropas. Darmstadt, 2017
The Megalith-Seiten by Thomas Witzke.

25 Sept 2021
  Impressions from the my Hiking Tours in the Lüneburg Heath

I finally managed to get in a few days of travelling this year – still in Germany, due to Corona. I chose the Lüneburg Heath (Lüneburger Heide), an area between Hamburg and Hannover that still has stretches of various heath landscapes, most of them protected nature reseves.
A hiking way in the Lüneburg Heath

The weather was ideal for hiking, moderate temperatures and an overcast sky, though the latter unfortunately makes for less pretty photos – heather in the sunshine looks more lovely on pictures. The peak of the heath bloom is over by mid-September, though some of itl is still in flower.
View to the Wilseder Berg from the Steingrund

I made several tours in the area around the Wilsede; admittedly one of the most tourist-y spots in the Lüneburg Heath, but the main season is over and there were not so many people around.
View from the Wilseder Berg to the Totengrund

The landscape is really beautiful, and the infrastructure to get there is acceptable (I'm depending on public transport, after all).
Juniper heath near Wilsede

Cars are not allowed around the Wilsede area with the Wilseder Berg (Wilsede Mountain), the Totengrund (Death Ground) and the Steingrund (Stone Ground), but you can travel by horse coach to some of the main spots.
Horse coach

Those chaps took me part of the way on a long day tour.
The Pietzmoor

A typical feature of certain parts of the Lüneburg Heath are bogs. Most of them have dried out over time due to peat cutting and drainage, but there are programs to renaturate some of them. The largest is the Pietzmoor near Schneverdingen.
One of many open waters in the Pietzmoor

There is a plank way leading through it. The overcast sky was less of an issue here, since a bog looks more mysterious in such weather, especially on photos.
Another view of the bog

And because I got so many photos of the place, here is another nice view.
Birch and pine forest in the Borstel Heath

The sun came to visit one day, so there is some heather in the sunshine, after all. These vista are from the Borsteler Schweiz (Borstel Switzerland), an end moraine landscape near Bispingen.
Juniper heath in the sun (Borsteler Schweiz)

The Lünbeburg Heath is not always a flat area, as these photos show. In fact, the north-eastern part is rather hilly, compared to the southern part.
Neolithic burials at Oldendorf/Luhe, tomb IV

Neolithic burials and Bronze Age tumuli can be found in several places; the best preserved ones are the Oldendorfer Totenstadt near Amelinghausen. Here the remains of half a dozen 'Giant Tombs' (Hünengräber) and tumuli are gathered close together.
Burials at Oldendorf, remains of tomb III

Several of the burials belong to the same cultural context as those in the Everstorf Forest, on Rugia and other places in northern Germany.
14th century church in Bispingen

I also found a cute 14th century church close to my hotel in Bispingen.
Evening in the Osterheide

The Osterheide near Schneverdingen was a military training area used by German and British troops until 1994, after which the site was renaturated. Now almost all traces of their presence have vanished and heath grows again.
Another shot of the Pietzmoor

There will be more detailed posts about the geology and history of the Lüneburg Heath – I got plenty of photos, after all. Today it's just a little overwiev of the places I visited.

10 Sept 2021
  Views from my Balcony – Summer Flowers

This year, I didn't plant any geraniums and marguerites as usual, but decided for a 'bee friendly seed mix'. It turned out quite well; there are new flowers popping up every few days.
Marigolds, bluebottles and other pretty flowers

There had been a rain shower right before; the drops lend an extra sparkle to the flowers.
Bluebottles, petunias and more

A veritable wilderness. Those flowers all grow higher than the description of the seeds says. You can literally watch them grow from the seeds I put in in late April.
Marigolds and sunflowers

The colours of summer; little suns on my balcony. They do indeed, attract a lot of bees, but I don't have a macro lens to get decent photos of the wee buzzies.
A sunflower called 'teddy bear'

This is a low growth sunflower called 'teddy bear' – an extra fluffy variant which is well suited for balconies.
Pretty mix in front of the window

Another mix in front of my bedroom window. Those pretties can be seen from both sides, the balcony and the room.
Marigolds, bluebottles and more

Those photos are just snapshots from the middle of summer. The fun started in spring and is going on well into autumn. I'm defintely going to do some seeding again next year.

17 Aug 2021
  The Tragedy of Afghanistan - A Poem by Theodor Fontane

In the light of recent events I repost a slighty edited version of a translation of a ballad by Theodor Fontane I did back in 2006. Carla Nayland kindly provided me with the historical context - which is outside my area of expertise - in the comments.

    Das Trauerspiel von Afghanistan

    Snow like powder from the sky softly falls,
    When before Djelalabad a rider halts.
    "Who's there" - "A British horseman I am,
    I carry a message from Afghanistan."

    Afghanistan. So weakly he'd said.
    Half the town around him had met;
    The British commander, Sir Robert Sale,
    Himself helped the man to alight from his bay.

    Into a guard-house they guided him
    And made him sit at the fire's brim;
    How warm was the fire, how bright was its shine.
    He takes a deep breath, and begins to explain.

    "Thirteen thousand men we had been,
    When our outset from Kabul was seen -
    Now soldiers, leaders, women and bairn
    They are betrayed, and frozen and slain.

    "Dispersed is the entire host,
    Who is alive, in the darkness is lost.
    A God to me salvation has sent -
    To save the rest you may make an attempt."

    Sir Robert ascends the castle wall,
    And soldiers and officers follow him all,
    Sir Robert speaks "How dense the snow falls,
    How hard they may seek, they'll never see the walls.

    "Like blindfold they'll err and yet are so near,
    The way to their safety, now let it them hear,
    Play songs of old, of the homeland so bright;
    Bugler, let thy tune carry far in the night."

    And they played and sang, and time passed by,
    Song over song through the night they let fly,
    The songs of their home so far and so dear,
    And old Highland laments so mournful to hear.

    They played all night and the following day,
    They played like only love made them play;
    The songs were still heard, but darkness did fall.
    In vain is your watch, in vain is your call.

    Those who should hear, they'll hear nevermore,
    Destroyed, dispersed is the proud host of yore;
    With thirteen thousand their trail they began.
    Only one man returned from Afghanistan.

The German original can be found here
This blog is non-political. Please respect this in the comments. The post is about the poem and its emotional impact. Thank you.

6 Aug 2021
  The Night the Devil Got Angry – The Teufelsmauer in the Harz Foothills

Once upon a time, god and the devil decided to divide the world between them. The devil should get all the land he could wall in during one night. So the devil set off from the north and all went nicely at first. But an old woman was walking down the Harz mountains with a cock she wanted to sell at the market. Since the way was long, she had started off in the middle of the night. She stumbled in the darkness, and the cock awoke and let off a merry cock-a-doodle-doo. The devil thought dawn was approaching and, taken with ire, he smote the wall he had built.
The Devil's Wall near Blankenburg

Parts of the cracked wall – known as Devil's Wall (Teufelsmauer) – can still be seen between Ballenstedt, from where it runs for about 20 km in north-western direction to Weddersleben (near Quedlinburg) and Blankenburg. Geologically, the formation stretches all the way to Goslar where it reappears as the Klus Rock.
Way at the rock formation near Blankenburg

The poor devil has been blamed for a number of geological features that stand out in the surrounding landscape. The mountains of the Harz give way to the Northern German Plain in the north, so the Devil's Wall is a singular chain of rocks beyond the last hills, looking like the remains of a giant wall indeed.
Grandfather Rock

The highest rock in the formation is the Grandfather Rock (Großvaterfelsen; 317 metres) near Blankenburg. Other interesting rocks appear at Weddersleben (like the King's Rock). The rock formations shown in the photos of this post are in the area near Blankenburg.
Grandfather Rock, different angle

Parts of the Devil's Wall were put under protection to prevent further mining of the sandstone as early as 1833, the part at Weddersleben is a nature reserve since 1935; 2006 the entire Devil's Wall was added to the list of National Geotopes.
More rocks of the wall near Blankenburg

The rock formations of the Devil's Wall are sandstones from various strata of the Cretaceous. The limestone from the Upper Cretaceous is intercalcated by hard Neocomian sandstone, for example. Quartizitation by ingress of silicic acid also hardened the sandstone. The various layers often alternate within a few metres.
Vertical rock strata with fault lines

The sandstone was originally the bottom of a shallow sea, and the strata thus horizontally layered. When the Harz mountains rose during the Saxon Orogeny, the lithologic sequence of rocks have been brought to the surface in a vertical or semi-vertical position (about the geology of the northern Harz see also this post and the one linked above).
More sandstone boulders

The folding of the layers was not a smooth process, but took place at different times in different parts along the northern Harz Boundary Fault line, which led to a discordant overlapping of the the older Triassic buntsandstein, musselkalk and keuper as well as the younger Cretaceous sandstone.
The Grandmother Rock

Erosion and the glaciers of the Ice Ages eliminated the softer rocks, leaving the harder parts that now stand out as crags and pinnacles. The river Bode also changed its course during the glacial periods, washing out a new bed. As a result, the Devil's Wall, marker of the boundary fault, today shows some gaps between the rock formations.
Boulders and trees

The elements of the Devil's Wall are of different age. The formation at Weddersleben is younger than the rocks near Ballenstedt which are a silificied sandstone and – in case of the Grandfather Rock – quarzitic sandstone, for example (I'll spare you a list of names of geological subformations of the Cretaceous period represented here).
A particularly picturesque pillar

After the little geology lesson, let's just enjoy the pretty sights of picturesque grey and white sandstone rocks and green trees on a hot, sunny day.
Hiking in the Harz can be like that

I did the tour together with my father some years ago. Yes, there were beers with our name on back in Quedlinburg. It's the best thing after a hot day out. *grin*
Different angle of the crag

The way around – and through – the formations near Blankenburg is, let's say interesting in parts. At some points, the path leads through narrow crags between boulders, partly natural, partly man made.
A staircase

One can climb some of the rocks, but we didn't go that far (it requires climbing equipment, too). The viewpoint on the summit of Grandfather Rock is accessible by stairs, but it was a bit crowded that day, so we decided not to go up there.
Rocks, trees, and sunny spots

You can see that the ground once has been sandstone as well, partly weathered and turned into a thin layer of soil – trees win all the time – but there's quite an amount of rocky surface left to make for a pretty pattern.
Rocks, trees, and blue sky

And another photo which I like well enough to share, though I have no more text to go with it.

The Lost Fort is a travel and history blog based on my journeys in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and central / eastern Europe. It includes virtual town and castle tours with a focus on history, museum visits, hiking tours, and essays on Roman and Mediaeval history, illustrated with my own photos.

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Location: Goettingen, Germany

I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who still hasn't got an Instagram account.
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From the Civil War to the Present
The Architecture



Views from the Castle

The Wallace Monument


A Virtual Tour of the Castle
The Early Stewart Kings
Royal Dower House, and Decline

Guarding the Sound of Mull

An Ancient MacDougall Stronghold
The Wars of Independence
The Campbells Are Coming
Dunstaffnage Chapel

Robert the Bruce and Stirling Castle

Abbeys and Churches

Inchcolm Abbey
Arriving at Inchcolm

Other Historical Sites

Neolithic Orkney
Ring of Brodgar
Skara Brae

Brochs and Cairns
Clava Cairns
The Brochs of Gurness and Midhowe - Introduction

Picts and Dalriatans
Dunadd Hill Fort



Castle and Coast

The Ffwrwm

The Smallest House in Great Britain


The Historical Context
The Architecture

Master James of St.George
The Castle Kitchens

From the Romans to the Victorians

Beginnings unto Bigod
From Edward II to the Tudors
Civil War, Restoration, and Aftermath

The History of the Castle
The Architecture

Llywelyn's Buildings
King Edward's Buildings

The Pleasantest Spot in Wales

Pembroke Pictures
The Caves Under the Castle



To come



The Fram Museum in Oslo

Castles and Fortresses

Arkershus Fortress in Oslo
Akershus at the Time of King Håkon V
Architectural Development

Vardøhus Fortress
Defending the North for Centuries



The Vasa Museum

Historical Landscapes

Gnisvärd Ship Setting



Mediaeval Porvoo



St. Petersburg
Isaac's Cathedral
Smolny Cathedral
Impressions from the The Neva River



The History of Mediaeval Tallinn



The History of Mediaeval Riga


Historical Landscapes

The Curonian Spit
Geology of the Curonian Spit



Gdańsk / Danzig
The History of Mediaeval Gdańsk
Mediaeval and Renaissance Gdańsk

The Old Town
Jewish Kraków - Kazimierz and the Ghetto

Wrocław / Breslau
The Botanical Garden
The Wrocław Dwarfs


Ogrodzieniec Castle
A Virtual Tour
From the First Castle to the Boner Family



Cheb / Eger
Pretty Houses in the Old Town

Karlovy Vary / Karlsbad
Brief History of the Town

Kutná Hora
The Sedlec Ossuary
Walk through the Town, with St.Barbara's Church



The Old Town

Mediaeval Bruges

Mediaeval Ghent

Roman and Mediaeval Remains



Luxembourg City
A Tour of the Town



A Tour of the Town

Hiking Tours and Cruises


The Baltic Sea Coast
The Flensburg Firth
Rugia - Jasmund Peninsula and Kap Arkona
Rugia - Seaside Ressort Binz
Rugia - The Pier of Sellin
Rugia - More Photo Impressions
A Tour on the Wakenitz River

Harz National Park
Arboretum (Bad Grund)
Bode Valley and Rosstrappe Cliff
Devil's Wall
Ilse Valley and Ilse's Rock
Oderteich Reservoir
Rappbode Reservoir
Views from Harz mountains

Nature Park Meissner-Kaufunger Wald
Around Bad Sooden-Allendorf
Hessian Switzerland

Nature Park Solling-Vogler
Forest Pasture - Hutewald Project
The Raised Bog Mecklenbruch

Nature Park Reinhardswald
The Old Forest at the Sababurg

Thuringian Forests
Oberderdorla and Hainich National Park

Rivers and Lakes
Bruchteiche / Bad Sooden Allendorf
The Danube in Spring
Edersee Reservoir
A Rainy Rhine Cruise
The Moselle
Vineyards at Saale and Unstrut
Weser River Ferry
Weser Skywalk

Harz Falcon Park
Ozeaneum Stralsund: The Baltic Sea Life
Ozeaneum Stralsund: The North Sea Life
Red squirrels

Spring in the Botanical Garden Göttingen
Spring at the 'Kiessee' Lake
Spring in the Rossbach Heath (Meissner)
Memories of Summer
Summer Hiking Tours 2016
Autumn in the Meissner
Autumn at Werra and Weser
Winter at the 'Kiessee' Lake

United Kingdom

Mountains and Valleys
West Highland Railway

The East Coast
By Ferry to Newcastle
Highland Mountains - Inverness to John o'Groats
Some Photos from the East Coast

Scottish Sea Shores
Crossing to Mull
Mull - Craignure to Fionnphort
Pentland Firth
Castles Seen from Afar (Dunollie and Kilchurn)
Summer Days in Oban
Summer Nights in Oban

Wild Wales - With Castles
Views of Snowdownia
Views from Castle Battlements

Sea Gulls


The Hurtigruten-Tour / Norway
A Voyage into Winter
Along the Coast of Norway - Light and Darkness
Along the Coast of Norway - North of the Polar Circle

Norway by Train
From Oslo to Bergen
From Trondheim to Oslo

Bearded Seals
Dog Sledding With Huskies
Eagles and Gulls in the Trollfjord

The Baltic Sea

A Baltic Sea Cruise

The Curonian Spit in Lithuania
Beaches at the Curonian Spit
Geology of the Curonian Spit

Roman History
General Essays

- Germania
- Gallia Belgica
- Britannia

Mediaeval History
General Essays

By Country
- Germany
- England
- Scotland
- Wales
- Denmark
- Norway
- Sweden
- Livonia
- Lithuania
- Poland
- Bohemia

Other Times
- Prehistoric Times
- Post-Mediaeval History
- Geology

Roman History

General Essays

The Romans at War

Forts and Fortifications
Exercise Halls
Mile Castles and Watch Towers
Soldiers' Living Quarters
Cavalry Barracks

Roman Militaria

Early Imperial Helmets
Late Roman Helmets
The Negau B Helmet

Weapon Finds at Hedemünden
The pilum

Other Equipment
Roman Saddles

Life and Religion

The Mithras Cult
Isis Worship
Curse Tablets and Good Luck Charms

Public Life
Roman Transport - Barges
Roman Transport - Amphorae and Barrels
Roman Water Supply

Roman villae
Villa Urbana Longuich
Villa Rustica Wachenheim

Everyday Life
Bathing Habits
Children's Toys
Face Pots

Miscellaneous Essays

The Legend of Alaric's Burial


Wars and Frontiers

Romans in Germania

Traces of the Pre-Varus Conquest
Roman Camp Hedemünden
New Finds in 2008

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Museum Park at Kalkriese

The Battle at the Harzhorn

Along the Limes
The Cavalry Fort Aalen
Limes Fort Osterburken
Limes Fort Saalburg

Gallia Belgica

The Batavians

The Batavian Rebellion
A Short Introduction


Roman Frontiers in Britain

The Hadrian's Wall
The Fort at Segedunum / Wallsend

Mediaeval History

General Essays

Mediaeval Art and Craft

Mediaeval Art
Carved Monsters
The Choir Screen in the Cathedral of Mainz
The Gospels of Heinrich the Lion
Mediaeval Monster Carvings
The Viking Treasure of Hiddensee

Medieaval Craftmanship
Medical Instruments

Mediaeval Warfare

Mediaeval Weapons

Castles and Fortifications
Dungeons and Oubliettes

Essays about Specific Topics


The History of Feudalism
The Beginnings
Feudalism in the 10th Century

Privileges and Special Relationships
The Privilege of the deditio
A Note on handgenginn maðr

The Hanseatic League

The History of the Hanseatic League
Introduction and Beginnings

Hanesatic Architecture
Examples of Brick Architecture

Goods and Trade
Stockfish Trade

Towns of the Hanseatic League
Tallinn / Reval

The Order of the Teutonic Knights

Wars and Battles
The Conquest of Danzig
The Siege of Vilnius 1390

The Vikings

Viking Ships
The Nydam Ship



List of Mediaeval German Emperors

Anglo-German Marriage Connections
Heinrich the Lion's Ancestors

Kings and Emperors

The Salian Dynasty
King Heinrich IV

House Welf and House Staufen
Emperor Otto IV, Introduction

Princes and Lords

Otto the Quarrelsome of Braunschweig-Göttingen
The Dukes of Braunschweig-Grubenhagen
Otto of Northeim
The Ludowing Landgraves of Thuringia
Albrecht II and Friedrich I of Thuringia

Counts and Local Lords
The Marshals of Ebersburg
The Counts of Everstein
The Counts of Hohnstein
The Lords of Plesse
The Counts of Reichenbach
The Counts of Winzenburg

Famous Feuds

Royal Troubles
Otto IV and Bishop Adalbert II of Magdeburg

Local Feuds
The Lüneburg Succession War
The Thuringian Succession War - Introduction
The Star Wars


Kings of England

King Henry IV
King Henry's Lithuanian Crusade

Normans, Britons, Angevins

Great Fiefs - The Honour of Richmond
The Dukes of Brittany and the Honour of Richmond
The Earldom of Richmond and the Duchy of Brittany

Contested Borders

King Stephen's Troubles with King David of Scots


Kings of Scots

House Dunkeld
Malcolm III and Northumbria
Struggle for the Throne: Malcolm III to David I
King David and the Civil War, Part 1
King David and the Civil War, Part 2

Houses Bruce and Stewart
Robert the Bruce and Stirling Castle
The Early Stewart Kings

Scottish Nobles and their Quarrels

Clan Feuds
MacLeans and MacDonalds
A Scottish Wedding


Welsh Princes

The Princes of Gwynedd
The Rise of House Aberffraw


A History of Rebellion
From Llywellyn ap Gruffudd to Owain Glyn Dŵr


Kings of Denmark

House of Knýtlinga
Harald Bluetooth's Flight to Pomerania

Danish Rule in the Baltic Sea

The Duchy of Estonia
Danish Kings and German Sword Brothers


Kings of Norway

Foreign Relations
King Eirik's Scottish Marriages
King Håkon V's Swedish Politics
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union

A Time of Feuds

Famous Nobles and their Feuds
Alv Erlingsson of Tønsberg


Troubles and Alliances

Scandinavian Unity
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union

(Latvia and Estonia)

The Role of the Towns in Livonia

The History of Mediaeval Riga

The History of Mediaeval Tallinn


The Northern Crusades

The Wars in Lithuania
The Siege of Vilnius 1390

Lithuanian Princes

The Geminid Dynasty
Troublesome Cousins - Jogaila and Vytautas


The Northern Crusades

The Conquest of Pomerania / Prussia
The Conquest of Danzig

Royal Dynasties

The Jagiełłonian Kings
Władysław Jagiełło and the Polish-Lithuanian Union


Royal Dynasties

The Bohemian Kings of House Luxembourg
King Sigismund and the Hussite Wars

Other Times

Prehistoric Times


Neolithic Remains
Stone Burials of the Funnelbeaker Culture

Development of Civilisation
European Bread Museum, Ebergötzen
Hutewald Project in the Solling
Open Air Museum Oerlinghausen


Neolithic Orkney
The Neolithic Landscape of Orkney
Ring of Brodgar
Skara Brae
Life in Skara Brae

Bronze Age / Iron Age
Clava Cairns
The Brochs of Gurness and Midhowe - Their Function in Iron Age Society


The Ship Setting of Gnisvärd

Post-Mediaeval History

Explorers and Discoveries

Fram Expedition to the North Pole
Fram Expedition to the South Pole

Otto von Guericke and the Magdeburg Hemispheres
Raising a Wreck, Now and Then (Vasa Museum in Stockholm)


European Nobility
Prince Wilhelm Malte of Putbus


History in Literature and Music

History and Literature

The Weimar Classicism
The Weimar Classicism - Introduction

Historical Ballads by Theodor Fontane
Short Biography of Theodor Fontane
(Some of Fontane's Ballads, translated by me)
Archibald Douglas
Gorm Grymme
Sir Walter Scott in Abbotsford
The Tragedy of Afghanistan

History in Opera

Belcanto and Historicism
Maria Padilla - Mistress Royal
The Siege of Calais in Donizetti's Opera

Not so Serious History

Building Hadrian's Wall
Playmobil Romans

Mediaeval Times
Kings Having a Bad Hair Day
The Case of the Vanished Wine Cask

Rules for Writing Scottish Romances
Tourist Kitsch in St.Petersburg


Geological Landscapes

The Baltic Sea
Geology of the Curonian Spit
Chalk Cliffs on Rugia
Flint Fields on Rugia

The Harz
Bode Valley and Rosstrappe Cliff
The 'Hübichenstein' Rock
Karst Formations in the Southern Harz
The Lonau Falls
The Rhume Springs
Sandstone Formations: Daneil's Cave
Sandstone Formations: Devil's Wall
Sandstone Formations: The Klus Rock

Meissner / Kaufunger Wald
Blue Dome near Eschwege
Diabase and Basalt Formations
Karst Formations
Salt Springs at the Werra

Raised Bog Mecklenbruch
Hannover Cliffs

The Shores of Scotland

Fossils and Other Odd Rocks

Fossilized Ammonites
The Loket Meteorite

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