Like Stonehenge, the enigmatic stone ship has raised many theories about its purpose. According to local folklore, it was the final resting place of a legendary leader known as King Ale. Other theories suggest it was an ancient astronomical calendar, a cemetery, or a monument to the Vikings. The newly discovered dolmen might provide new clues on the pre-history of the monument.
"Our findings confirm what we have long suspected: Some stone-built monuments might have stood on the ridge long before the Ale's Stones," Knarrström said.
The older stones, as well as those making the dolmen, were most likely reused to build the stone ship.
"This discovery also confirms our belief that the site must have attracted people in all times," Knarrström said.
Photos: Top: Archaeologists clearing part of the trench with Ale's Stones in the background. Credit: Annika Knarrström, Swedish National Heritage Board.
Middle: Detail from the west brim of the dolmen. Archaeologist Annika Knarrström puts a mark on one of the many small stones in the brim, after digitally measuring its position. Credit: Bengt Söderberg, Swedish National Heritage Board.