The Boitin Steintanz ('Stone Dance') is a very special monument to mankind’s early history. There are altogether four stone circles in the forest near the village of Boitin in the vicinity of Bützow. Three of them lie close together, the fourth one at a distance of about 200 metres. Already long ago there were theories about the age and function of the arrangement. Today it is assumed that this is a calendar from the 12th century before Christ.
A saga gives a different interpretation of the stone circles: The legend has it that a frolicsome wedding party celebrated here long ago. The party bowled with bread and sausages until a ghost, appearing as an old man, asked the boisterous group to end the game. However, the wedding party did not do what they had been asked. They scorned the old man instead. So he turned the bride, the groom and the guests into stones. A shepherd, who happened to be nearby, was to be spared. But in spite of his promise, he looked back out of curiosity when fleeing and therefore was also transformed into stone together with his sheep and dog.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.