The remains of a 5,500-year-old tomb near Ale's Stones, a megalithic monument where, according to myth, the legendary King Ale lies buried, has been discovered by Swedish archaeologists. The discovery is the product of a geophysical investigation of the area carried out in 2006.
Intrigued by a circular structure measuring about 165 feet in diameter with a rectangular feature in its center, archaeologists of the Swedish National Heritage Board decided to dig a trial trench.
"The outer circle was difficult to prove, but we did find vague traces at the spot, possibly imprints of smaller stones," archaeologist Bengt Söderberg told Discovery News.
In the middle, the researchers found "several components" that are evidence of a dolmen, a megalithic portal tomb usually made of two vertical stones supporting a large flat horizontal stone on top.
"The components consisted of imprints of large stones belonging to a central grave chamber, which was surrounded by large stones and a brim of smaller stones," Söderberg said.
Oriented north-south, the 65- by 26-foot dolmen dated to the Swedish early Neolithic period, about 5,500 years ago.
"We also found a blade, a scraper and some flakes of flint. This is not unusual when it comes to this type of graves," Söderberg said.
According to archaeologist Annika Knarrström of the Swedish National Heritage Board, the dolmen was likely "the grave of some local magnate."
"However, we have little data to really tell who was buried there," Knarrström said.
The newly discovered dolmen lay just 130 feet from the spectacular Ales Stenar ("Ale's Stones"), also known as "Sweden's Stonehenge."
Located near the fishing village of Kåseberga, the structure consists of 59 stones, each weighing up to 4,000 pounds, that appear to form a 220-foot-long ship overlooking the Baltic Sea.