The Marhoj Passage Grave - History and Facts | History Hit

The Marhoj Passage Grave

Snave, Region of Southern Denmark, Denmark

The Marhoj Passage Grave is a tomb in Hindsholm, Denmark.

Peta Stamper

26 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Peter Larsen / CC

About The Marhoj Passage Grave

The Marhoj Passage Grave, also known as Mårhøj Jættestue and Mårhøj knoll, is a subterranean burial chamber in Hindsholm, Denmark. While Hindsholm is richly populated by these megalithic tombs, The Marhoj Passage Grave is one of the finest examples in Denmark.

The Marhoj Passage Grave history

The Marhoj Passage Grave dates back to Denmark’s Neolithic period, marked by burial mounds. It is understood that people were temporarily buried elsewhere until skeletal, then were buried in the megalithic sites. Probably only the most socially significant persons received the honour, the tombs constructed with an immense amount of labour. The burial process was likely also a social and religious task, bringing together the community.

When the site was excavated in 1868 by the local farm owner, human bones and an amber bead were discovered in the Neolithic burial place. The farmer and his son took good care of the tomb, building a door and letting visitors borrow a key without paying. For their diligence, they were rewarded with a certificate and silver goblet.

At the time, patriotism was needed among Danes. Following the 1864 Second Schleswig War after which the Danes ceded territories to Prussia and Austria, they therefore looked to their impressive prehistoric past. Both the walls and the ceiling were built of huge stones, which the ice had brought with it during the last ice age, scattering rocks across the landscape. Seals were made between the stones with stone tiles to allow for drainage, what archaeologists call ‘drywall’.

In 1932 when restoring the hallway, an urn holding burnt bones, believed to be from the Late Bronze or Iron Age, was found suggesting the grave had been appropriated.

The Marhoj Passage Grave today

This extraordinarily well-preserved passage grave lies on a natural hill, making the site easily identifiable to visitors today. You can explore this burial site, but take care when you visit Mårhøj as for adults it is a bit awkward to get in.

First you have to crawl through a narrow corridor, and then you enter the burial chamber itself. It is approx. 2 metres wide and 10 metres long. Inside you can stand and with a flashlight see how the chamber is built. The view from the mound’s top is also beautiful!

Getting to The Marhoj Passage Grave

The passage grave is remote but accessible by a 30 minute drive from Odense, or by catching several buses over 2 and a half hours.

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Denmark Historic Sites

Explore the Viking past at Jelling or visit the setting of Shakespeare's Hamlet at Kronborg Castle. Denmark's historic sites are wide-ranging and beguiling.