A few kilometers east of Nakskov is an area called Avnede Beach. Today there is not much water left, and absolutely no beach, but before the draining of the fjord it was possible to sail past Avnede Beach to Halsted and, 1000 years ago, certainly also to Vesterborg.
Today the area by Avnede Beach is one of the places in the old fjord, where it is easiest to see the water’s earlier coverage, while barrows and dolmens testify to an attractive hunting and agricultural area in the Stone and Bronze Ages.
Langdyssen (Long barrow) in Avnede Beach is one of West Lolland’s few preserved long barrows. In this area there are very few stones to be found in the fields, so many dolmens and gallery graves have ended their days as road fill. In past times, on the fields belonging to the big estates, they were considered undesirable obstacles, and removed.
The dolmen is nicely situated in a clearing in the woods with the vast majority of the arge stones preserved. At the east end they almost resemble menhirs. There is a large chamber and several small chambers, however, these are for the most part a little indistinct. The dolmen is definitely worth a visit. A sign shows the entrance to the barrow.
The Bronze Age’s large domed mounds succeed gallery graves and dolmens. The dolmens are usually solitary while the Bronze Age mounds are found in clusters. Just such a cluster, consisting of 12 major mounds, is found in the corner of the nearby Torpe Forest. They are located all the way to the old water edge, which can still be discerned in the forest. The location was carefully chosen so that people sailing past could see that here lived a powerful tribe. There is an information board at the burial mounds.
It is possible that there was a wading ford between Avnede and Torpe Forest for several thousand years.
In the southwest corner of Torpe Forest can be seen different types of burial mounds. They are the small low mounds which, in the Late Bronze Age, replaced the large domed mounds. There was no longer a need for large mounds, because preference changed around 1000 BC went over to burials in small urns. On each side of the small path can be seen a little low mound. See the map. Elsewhere in the forest, there are other small mounds, but these are not publicly available.
Travelling in the area, it is easy to discern in many places the water distribution in the past. Seeing this one understands better why people in the Stone and Bronze Ages settled in this area. Good pastures and fields, combined with fine hunting opportunities in the fjord inlets and bays, made the area very attractive.
When you are in the area, the small church in Avnede is worth a visit. The church is called ’The Church in the Wash’ as in earlier times, the water washed right up to the boulder dike, so the church was on a headland in the Fjord. 200 years ago there was even a jetty, so it was possible to sail to church. The church is a so-called nave church as the chancel and nave are one. It was built in the 1400s, probably because there was a holy spring nearby.