Klekkende Høj is a megalithic tomb which dates possibly from the Neolithic Age, ca. 4500 years ago. It one of the best preserved of more than 100 burial mounds on the island. The tomb is a passage grave, which means that the central chamber within the mound is reached by a connecting passage. Klekkende Høj is unusual in that there are two entrance passages running approximately parallel to each other, facing east. Within the mound is a central space running approximately north-south, which is divided through the centre by two large stones. One passage enters each half of the tomb. The entrance passages are approximately 7 metres long and sufficiently large for a crouching man. The central chambers are each approximately 4.5 metres long and larger, but not large enough for a man to stand. The chambers and passages are constructed from large stones set on edge, which support capstones laid flat across their tops. The whole was then covered by an earth mound.
The tomb was excavated in 1797 by Antoine de Bosc de la Calmette, who was governor of the island. Fifteen men worked for a week to dig down into the tomb and remove some of the capstones so that the contents could be removed. Inside were a considerable number of human remains, flint weapons, clay vessels and amber jewellery. These were sent to the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. The tomb was then re-sealed.
The tomb has since been entered again and is now open to the public via the passage entrances. The southern chamber was restored in 1987 to make it safe. At that time, the northern chamber was considered to be sound, but it was later found that the capstones were in danger of slipping off their supports. This was restored in 2002, and electric light was also installed for the benefit of visitors.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).