Risbebjerg is an archeological site containing both the remains of a Neolithic sun temple and Iron Age earthworks. Bordered by the Øleådalen valley, the site is marked by Iron Age earthworks consisting of semicircular ramparts 3 metres high and a dry ditch 2 metres deep, dating back some 2,000 years. There are also remains of a number of 5,000-year-old woodhenges, one of which has been recreated with stumps of wood in the original holes, giving an impression of the size of the ancient site. An observation tower provides information and views over the historic area.

The site was discovered in 1897, leading to finds near a spring of six flint axes and four flint chisels from the mid-Neolithic. The following year, a further 13 flint axes and two chisels were found, making it one of the principal sites for finds of flint axes and chisels. The fact that the finds were made near a spring indicated that the site had religious significance.

The site contains a number of ancient wooden circles from about 2,800 BC. Traces of the original wooden poles have been found and recently marked out with stumps of wood. From the clay pieces, burnt flint and burnt bones found on the site, it has been suggested that the circles may have served as a sun temple. They apparently supported a clay-covered platform, accessed by a flight of steps, on which experts believe fires could have been lit, possibly for sacrifices. Clay disks with ancient sun symbols have also been found, ritually buried under the poles. It appears as if the wooden circles were constructed over three separate periods.

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Slotsvejen 3, Neksø, Denmark
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Details

Founded: 3000 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Denmark
Historical period: Neolithic Age (Denmark)

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For Prince Leopold III Friedrich Franz of Anhalt-Dessau (1740-1817) and his friend and adviser Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorff (1736-1800), the study of landscape gardens in England and ancient buildings in Italy during several tours was the impetus for their own creative programme in the little principality by the rivers Elbe and Mulde. As a result, the first landscape garden in continental Europe was created here, with Wörlitz as its focus. Over a period of forty years a network of visual and stylistic relationships was developed with other landscape gardens in the region, leading to the creation of a garden landscape on a unique scale in Europe. In the making of this landscape, the designers strove to go beyond the mere copying of garden scenery and buildings from other sites, but instead to generate a synthesis of a wide range of artistic relationships. Among new and characteristic components of this garden landscape was the integration of a didactic element, arising from the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), the thinking of Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768), and the aesthetics of Johann Georg Sulzer (1720-1779). The notion of public access to the buildings and grounds was a reflection of the pedagogic concept of the humanisation of society.

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Through the conscious and structured incorporation of economic, technological, and functional buildings and parks into the artistically designed landscape, the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz became an important concourse of ideas, in that it facilitated the convergence of 18th century grandeur of design with the beginnings of 19th century industrial society. The reforming outlook of this period brought about a huge diversity of change in the garden layout, and this legacy can still be experienced today.