The King's Grave is a Bronze Age Marvel in southeastern Sweden, and it should be listed on everyone's bucket list. For lovers of Archaeology and ancient history, this burial cairn remains a mystery that may never be solved. The site was discovered in 1748, but looting and destruction of the site before its public discovery means that we may never know exactly when it was built, or who was once buried at the site
The burial cairn is located near the city of Kivik, in the Österlen region of Sweden. It is also called Kungagraven because it is believed to have contained the remains of a king or a chieftain. The double burial dates to about 1600 BC, and its plain exterior doesn't do justice to the treasures hidden inside.
The area on the southeastern coast of Skåne is home to many other Bronze Age monuments. These include the Ängakåsen grave field, located a few hundred meters away from Kungagraven. A prehistoric road runs from the grave field to the sea, about a mile away.
The Vintage News reports that two farmers quarrying the mound in the summer of 1748 discovered the stone tomb. They halted their quarrying and went exploring around the stone tomb.
Some believe the farmers looked through the tomb all night to find treasure. Some reports say the farmers found something huge, while others believe the tomb was already robbed of its treasure before the official discovery.
Kungagraven is the largest burial cairn of its kind in Sweden. It measures 75 meters in diameter or about 246 feet. For a good size comparison, the burial mound is about 3/4 the size of a football field and is shaped like a circle. The entrance to the burial tomb is located toward the middle of the circle.
Images were found inside the cairn when the capstones were removed from the grave-cyst in 1750. The grave-cyst is made up of 10 stone slabs that are set closely together. Each stone is almost four feet high and about 2 feet wide. The pictures aren't cut into the stone, but instead appear to be drawn on them.
In the 1930s, archeologists searched the King's Grave and found a smaller burial chamber close to the stone coffin. They named this chamber the Prince's Chamber or Prinskammaren, according to Cultural Narrative. Archaeologists reconstructed the burial mound during this time, making the entrance easier for visitors to enter.
The petroglyphs discovered on the stone include groups of human figures, a horse-drawn cart and driver, and early Bronze Age style weapons. The images may be depictions of mortuary rituals, grave goods, and religious symbols or they could be something completely different.
Archaeologists originally thought the cairn contained the remains of a chieftain or a king. Cultural Narrative notes that recent analysis of human remains suggests the tomb may actually have been occupied by teenagers.
The reconstruction of the mound in the 1930s makes it easy for visitors to view the burial chambers easily. Mp3 players are even offered at the entrance if you want a recorded guided tour of the area.