Most archaeologists agree that palisade enclosures in southern Scandinavia were built to frame ritual gatherings.
Indeed, ritual sacrifices have already been documented in the Stevns palisade's predecessors from the Early and Middle Neolithic period, dating back to 6,400-6,200 years ago.
"The palisade enclosure in Stevns thus reflects a sort of continuity in ritual practice," said Mette Madsen, an archaeologist and curator at the Museum Southeast Denmark.
The Stevns structure, he noted, "clearly shows some new tendencies as well, and the rituals themselves remain somewhat elusive."
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A number of palisade enclosures have been found in recent decades in Denmark and Sweden.
One in particular, which was discovered during the late 1980s on the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, featured a big palisade made of timber. Excavation at the site, known as Vasagårds Field, uncovered burnt finds, flint tools, animal bones and sunstones, pointing to the existence of a sun temple.
A similar temple was discovered on the same island at the Risbebjerg archaeological site.
"Those offerings were not found on the new Stevns site, so I don't believe the enclosure is a temple area," said Finn Ole Sonne Nielsen, head archaeologist at the Bornholm Museum. "Stevns could be a fenced settlement or, more likely, a fortification."
Moreover, the palisade in Bornholm, which probably predates Stevns, was constructed differently, with the poles located much closer together.
It's impossible to determine the purpose of this ancient and puzzling labyrinth without further excavations, but the archaeologists who are involved hope that additional funding will allow them to investigate the rest of the enclosure.
As Rohde Sloth remarked, "The site holds great potential for the future."