Monday, October 25, 2004

Megalithic Sites in Latvia by Vilnis Grauds - LexiLine Journal 308

Megalithic Sites in Latvia
- by Vilnis Grauds

In Latvia churches were often built on old holy sites, for example, Rauna, Aizkraukle, Aglona, etc. Ancient megalithic stones may have been used to build church buildings and castles. Since the Latvians tried to maintain their old traditions after the advent of Christianity, the Christian clergy tried to stop this process by destroying cult places if they could not be used for the building of churches.

Some sites were destroyed in the Soviet period, even though there was a formal pretense of saving ancient sites for purposes of political propaganda. A case in point is a 20 meter high cairn (shaped like a boat) on the Baltic Sea shore in Courland which was destroyed by taking the stones for building construction. Also damaged was the site of Milzkalne ("Giant Hill") in Courland.

The result is that today we can find mostly only separate megaliths in Latvia - as landmark stones and as so-called "offering stones". Although the majority of megalithic sites have been destroyed or damaged, we can still find remnants of stone systems in some places in Latvia. These megalithic sites are not always registered as historical or archaeological sites even today.

For example, of the Allazhi stones http://tradition.lf.lv/Allazhu_akmenji.htm only one of these stones is officially recorded as an archaeological site - the "Chernausku akmens" ("Chernauskas Stone"), an offering stone. Nothing has been examined or investigated from the scientific side, even though an initial on-site examination or a review of maps shows that there is a geodetic structure to the ancient holy sites.

We might refer here to Zilaiskalns ("Blue Hill") or to many pre-Christian sites where rock drawings and paintings are found relating to the ancient religion of the Latvians. The naturalist Guntis Enins was the first to pay serious attention to these megalithic sites. See his website at

[http://www.gramata21.lv/users/enins_guntis/]

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