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“Sun Stones” found at Neolithic Site in Denmark

Some of the “sun stones” found at Vasagård – Photo © John Lee, The National Museum of Denmark, used with permission.1

Around 300 stones with sun shaped carvings have been found in Bornholm, Denmark, at the neolithic site known as Vasagård and the nearby site of Rispebjerg.

Vasagård and Rispebjerg are thought by archaeologists and researchers to have been used 5000 years ago by those who had a reverence for the sun.23

The sun stones are small and generally made of shale, with various carvings of suns and concentric circles, which are symbols that have been used by many cultures and communities all over the world that practiced the ancient Religion of the Sun.

The purpose or function of the stones is currently unknown. Finn Ole Sonne Nielsen, the lead archaeologist at the Bornholm Museum remarked in the article below that,

Many of the sun stones and one of the field stones are very worn, so it looks as though someone has run around with them in their pocket.

One of the sun stones found at Vasagård, which was discovered in one of the postholes of the wooden structure pictured below. Photo © John Lee, The Museum of Denmark, used with permission.4

There is also evidence that the stones were possibly used in ceremonies or rituals, as some appeared to have been deliberately broken or purposefully deposited into different areas of the structures.56

Stones that have been carved in a similar way with various patterns have been found in other areas of Denmark as well as Sweden, Scotland and England.7

An impressive amount of around 600 carved stones were found in ceremonial buildings at another neolithic site known as “Ness of Brodgar” in Scotland.8 The expansive neolithic complex contains a chambered cairn and several standing stones and stone circles which have alignments to the solstices and equinoxes.9

The carved stones at Ness of Brodgar were found within the walls of the various stone structures, some visible as decorative objects and others that were used in the wall material itself. Though the style of the carvings differed from the Danish stones, it suggests the stones found in Bornholm may have been used in a similar way since they were also found placed inside ceremonial structures.10

It’s thought that the sun carvings on the stones found at Vasagård and Rispebjerg carried a deeper meaning which related to the sun when put in context of the similarities in architecture to other sacred sites in Denmark and throughout Europe which placed an emphasis on the sun by aligning to the solstices and equinoxes along with other solar imagery found at them.11

Map of the site showing some of the structures. After Nielsen et al. 2015, used with permission.

The sites where the stones have been found also share many of the same characteristics of other sacred sites around the world that were used by people who practiced the Religion of the Sun.

Evidence of wooden palisades were found around the outside of the site, which have been found at sites such as Goseck Circle in Germany or Cahokia in the USA.

Several earth covered dolmens surrounded by ditches known as a causewayed enclosures have been discovered, which is a building style that is found throughout Europe.

There are also wooden circles that resemble “woodhenges,” with a ceremonial stone placed in the middle of them.

Archaeologists have interpreted these structures as being ceremonial houses after finding evidence of them being covered in decorative clay panels and items that appeared to have been used in rituals within them.12

One of the sun stone carvings was found inside one of the post holes of this structure pictured below:

An outline of one of the wooden circle structures, thought to have been ceremonial houses. Photo © Poul Otto Nielsen, used with permission.13

Here is a short video of inside of one of the stone structures at Vasagård:

Vasagård is still being studied and research at the site is being led by Dr. Finn Ole Nielsen, Dr. Paul Otto Nielsen, Dr. M. Nicolás Caretta and MSc. Michael Thorsen.

It’s possible more information and artifacts will come to light to add to the growing evidence that a community of people who celebrated the spiritual sun lived on the island of Bornholm in Denmark 5000 years ago.

Full article on the Archaeology News Network


  1. Association of Danish Museums / Organisationen Danske Museer Follow. “Poul Otto Nielsen – udgravninger ved vasagård.” LinkedIn SlideShare. January 04, 2016. Accessed January 01, 2018. https://www.slideshare.net/dkmuseer/poul-otto-nielsen-udgravninger-ved-vasagrd.  

  2. “Denmark: Vasagård.” Institute for Field Research. Accessed December 29, 2017. http://ifrglobal.org/program/denmark-vasagard/.  

  3. Fuglsang, P. “Solstenene i praksis / The ‘sunstones’ in practice.” Academia.edu. Accessed December 30, 2017. http://www.academia.edu/31890851/Solstenene_i_praksis_The_sunstones_in_practice.  

  4. Association of Danish Museums / Organisationen Danske Museer Follow. “Poul Otto Nielsen – udgravninger ved vasagård.” LinkedIn SlideShare. January 04, 2016. Accessed January 01, 2018. https://www.slideshare.net/dkmuseer/poul-otto-nielsen-udgravninger-ved-vasagrd.  

  5. Kaul, Flemming, Jens Andresen, and Michael S. Thorsen. “Recent finds of Neolithic miniature rock art on the island of Bornholm including topographic motifs.” Adoranten magazine, Scandinavian Society for Prehistoric Art. 2016. Accessed January 01, 2018. http://www.rockartscandinavia.com/recent-finds-of-neolithic-miniature-rock-art-on-the-island-of-bornholm-including-topographic-motifs-by-flemming-kaul-jens-andresen-and-michael-s-thorsen-aa120.php.  

  6. Nielsen, P.O., Andresen, J. & Thorsen, M.S. 2015. Vasagård på Bornholm – palisader, solsten og et 4.900 år gammelt, dekoreret kulthus. Nationalmuseets Arbejdsmark 2015, 50-63.  

  7. Kaul, Flemming, Jens Andresen, and Michael S. Thorsen. “Recent finds of Neolithic miniature rock art on the island of Bornholm – including topographic motifs.”  

  8. Ibid.  

  9. Belsebuub and Lara Atwood, The Path of the Spiritual Sun: Celebrating the Solstices and Equinoxes (Mystical Life Publications, revised second edition, July 2017), p. 296-298  

  10. Kaul, Flemming, Jens Andresen, and Michael S. Thorsen. “Recent finds of Neolithic miniature rock art on the island of Bornholm –including topographic motifs.”  

  11. Ibid.  

  12. Nielsen, P.O., Andresen, J. & Thorsen, M.S. 2015. Vasagård på Bornholm – palisader, solsten og et 4.900 år gammelt, dekoreret kulthus.  

  13. Association of Danish Museums / Organisationen Danske Museer Follow. “Poul Otto Nielsen – udgravninger ved vasagård.” LinkedIn SlideShare. January 04, 2016. Accessed January 01, 2018. https://www.slideshare.net/dkmuseer/poul-otto-nielsen-udgravninger-ved-vasagrd.  

About the author

Vida Norris

Vida Norris is a writer and researcher who contributes to the SpiritualSun.com. With a background in permaculture design and landscaping, Vida has a deep interest in the ancient civilizations who practiced the Religion of the Sun and how they lived sustainably and with seemingly higher consciousness and interest in spirituality. She explores ancient sacred sites and pores over ancient texts, with the hope of bringing back the relevance of the Religion of the Sun to those interested in spirituality today.

22 Comments

  • Beautiful, mysterious stones. I agree with Alex that it’s nice to see these small sacred objects ancient people made – you get so used to seeing megalithic structures that you forget there must have been small personal sacred items too.

    It’s interesting what it says in the article, ‘The Vasagård area exhibits the appearance of a Stone Age society, which had be “thoroughly ritualised,” says Nielsen.’ If I understand that correctly, ritual would have been a big part of the society. Having many of those small sun temples there too. I wonder if it was a purely sacred area or if people lived there as well. Just that living in a place with temples around must have been so special and helped you so much to focus on the spiritual. And if it wasn’t a regular place where people lived then it would have indeed been an important sacred site like it said in the article because it’s so big and so much work went into constructing it.

  • Such an interesting mystery!
    My thought on that is these stones might be a type of identity or something people exchange between them. I like also the idea that these people were practicing the religion of the sun 5000 years ago and they had these stones on them. I wish we knew more about them.

    Thanks Vida for finding and bringing this research up to our attention.

  • This is an interesting article you’ve posted Vida and it had me thinking a little deeper into the possibilities of what those tiny sun stones could have been used for. I’m not sure if I completely believe in the theory that they may have been carried around in a pocket like an amulet – why would they go through the trouble to create their intricate designs only to have them hidden away, unless of course for protection? Even so, archaeologists have deemed the sun symbols to have a deeper meaning since they were found within a ceremonial structure that is similar to ones built by other ancient cultures that venerated the Sun. Obviously, as mentioned by many here on this thread, there must be more to it.

    I’m not sure if I am off track by saying this but when I saw those specific sun patterns, especially the ones with the spider web design, what came to mind was cymatics (geometric patterns formed by sound) and archaeoacoutics (the archaeology of sound) – who knows, maybe there could be a connection there somewhere? There seems to be more of these types of studies being carried out on ancient sacred sites including those found in Egypt, Malta, and the UK that were built to not only align with significant solar and stellar events but had also incorporated incredible acoustic effects and were often located in close proximity to water, another excellent sound amplifier. The findings being generated from these studies are pretty intriguing.

    https://www.tokenrock.com/cymatics/cymatics_today/

    http://www.landscape-perception.com/archaeoacoustics/

  • Very intriguing! I didn’t realize how small those sunstones are until I saw the photo on the Archaeology News site comparing one to the size of a match box. It does make you wonder how they were used… I could definitely see with them being so small people carrying them around as has been suggested.

    It’s also interesting that they found one inside the post hole… I had the same thought of oh maybe it fell inside but it doesn’t seem as likely with the other objects found in there.

  • Really liked that short video; those are the types of places that always intrigued me as a child (actually I wanted to turn my bedroom into something almost exactly like that when I was really young)! Thanks for posting.

  • Very interesting, especially the commonalities found between many other locations that venerated the Sun. Thanks for sharing.

  • Interesting discovery Vida, so much to discover about these ancient peoples and the purpose of these stones. It got me wondering if perhaps these stones could have been like a map or a calendar of some kind that could possibly mark the path of the spiritual sun or perhaps even the relationship of this sacred area to other ones in Denmark or even other regions? I also wondered if the stones were put in that particular post hole for a reason and were the artifacts enclosed in that post hole some kind of clue as to things that represent that period of time, like some kind of time capsule? Mind boggles but it seems there is a lovely treasure that has just begun to see the light of day once again after a very long time.

    • When first seeing these stones and their make up, and reading how many were found, I was also thinking that they might also have some practical use of some sort. To see the time of day perhaps, or what day of the year? If they were carried around? and possibly used a lot.

      That’s just complete speculation without any research on my part. But I did find it interesting to learn how some ancient sites incorporate advanced maths and also served a practical use, along with the ceremonial one. Perhaps the two were seen to be more connected back then compared to how we see them as separate now.

  • Interesting these sun stones were found at another site. I also quite like the video of the stone chamber. It’s very impressive. In addition to reminding me of the stone chambers in Europe, it’s also very reminiscent of the ones found in New England in the USA. Made me wonder if it’s oriented eastward, in a fashion similar to many of these other stone chambers.

  • Thanks Vida. It is nice to see the kinds of sacred objects ancient people made. These stones look like they could be made by anyone using very simple tools.

    I am also impressed by the complex. The combination of encircling river, and a complex built in a line reminds very much of nearby sites like Goseck Circle and Arkaim.

    • I found it interesting how it was next to a river as well. The nearby site of Rispebjerg (which is about 8km away from Vasagård) has a very similar layout, also next to the river.

      Many of the mound sites in the USA seem to have been built near rivers as well.

      • In several sites I looked into (Stonehenge, Majorville Medicine Wheel, Krn) the closest location of a nearby river had winter solstice alignments.

        I cannot tell from this map where the closest location is, but it seems like the main axis that goes from Systemgrave to Stolpekredse (on the top right part of the map) and then to the river is pointing toward winter solstice sunset. Likewise the horse-shoe looking shape at the bottom left part of the map opens up to the river in the direction of summer solstice sunrise.

        I would not be surprised if the river is used for similar purpose here as in other sacred sites throughout the world.

  • Thanks for this post, Vida. It’s really interesting how it seems they used to have all sorts of uses for the sun stones. I wonder about the significance of putting them in the walls or post holes, perhaps the symbol on the stone would give something to the structure itself?

    • I was wondering too! It’s really mysterious. Initially I thought it was possibly an accident but they also found amber as well as pieces of leather and other objects in the posthole, so it does seem to indicate they were placed purposefully.

    • I also had a thought that these stones may have been “charged” somehow. It would be nice to maybe try and carve one ourselves and see what happens. 🙂 It is also interesting that they are mostly from shale, which is quite common stone, making me wonder what properties made this stone so suitable for this purpose.

    • Perhaps adding objects that were considered sacred was believed to impart those attributes to the building itself? I think amber was seen to be connected to the sun in the Baltics in the past?

      • Amber was special to the Slavic/Baltic people, but also around the world it seems, and one reason was that it was said to imbue the wearer with courage. It’s interesting that even today its healing properties are taken seriously – you so often see babies with amber ‘teething’ necklaces in the UK!

  • The video showing inside the structure really illustrates the scale of it – those megaliths are very large. Interestingly, the way smaller stones are stacked beside one of the big stones at the back looks quite similar to the structure featured in the background image of this website.

    Although the use of these stones still seems a mystery, it’s appealing to consider the possibility of ancient people carrying a sun symbol in their pocket, perhaps as a reminder of the spiritual. Hopefully more information comes to light about the culture of the people who created these sites.

    • Yes, the similarity to the stones in the background here (which is from another Neolithic site in France called La Table des Marchands) was one of the first things I noticed about the chambered structure as well. It’s remarkable that the knowledge of these similar building techniques seems to be found in so many places.

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