Dutch dolmens in proportion

About orientation patterns with Dutch dolmens (in European context)

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Markings on stones

On this website planes, corners and prisma shapes, which support an orientation, are specified by the collective noun 'marking'. The function of markings on stones together with diagonals and trilithon gates is to clear up the orientation lines in dolmens. They can be associated with the marking features mentioned on the page Accounts. Markings stand on their own compared to the orientation patterns they support. They are conspicuous. Looking around in a dolmen, one will recognize them immediately, because they 'disrupt' the general shape. Even after the corrosion of 5000 years the boundaries between operated and untouched planes catch the eye.

Markings are found in wide spread places and distinct situations. The initial observation happend to be the study on the groups mentioned in the Introduction. Here they support the mutual orientation of the dolmens. Later on, the same markings happend to represent another type of orientation in some enlarged dolmens. There they support the form of the cellar plan. This is worked out under Proportion grid. For example a prima shaped marking is found in dolmen D38 to fix its orientation on D40 exactly. In the enlarged dolmen near Frauenmark in Mecklenburg (Schuldt 632) the prisma is used to clear up an orienlation line of the cellar pattern. Herewith its spreading expands over 400 km - an area which covers more then one culture of the Neolithics.

Left: The hacked prisma shape of the dolmen near Frauenmark.
Right: The prisma at a separated stone in the Valtherbos near Emmen. Probably the stone comes from one of the dolmens.

From this study three types of markings emerge: planes, prismas and double planes. The flat cellar sides of the stones are not included as planes. Lack of data does not allow such a conclusion. Only the flat pieces of the outside of a stone are called 'planes' here, since their normal shape is spherical.


Planes support an orientation line. The line goes alongside the plane. This marking is mainly used to indicate parallel orientation lines. Of course those planes could be shaped by natural influences, but still their usage is clear enough. Planes are used quite a lot. The most notable are D8-Z1, D8-Z2, D25-Z1, D25-Z2, D40-Z1 and D40-Z2, which occur in the same place with the same function. Sometimes a corner of a stone seems to be cut off in order to provide a way through to an orientation line. Those markings can be problematic, because they cannot always be distinguished from later calving that easy.


Prisma shapes are man made for certain. Because some shapes reside underneath the ground it's also clear that they belonged to the primal dolmen. The prisma exists in two types: as a bulge or as a groove. When the prisma occupies the whole side of a stone, it can also be a double plane. As planes reflect the orientation of a line, prismas determine the exact start or end point. Prismas are found in: D6-Z2, D38-Z4, D39-Z2, D40-Z2 and the dolmen near Frauenmark.

Evidently Neolithic man used general known features with a specific function. Remarkably markings were rendered in stone. This seems to be more laborious then painting. As far as known, dolmens have never been explored for pigments.