The Bronze Age Burial Site of Sammallahdenmäki consists of 33 stone cairns, dating mainly from the Bronze Age (1500-500 B.C.).
It is an extraordinary example of Finland's Bronze Age culture because it presents the ancient monuments in a well preserved natural environment.
Two of the most spectacular cairns are the quadrangular "Chuch Floor" and the dike-like "Long Ruin of Huilu".
In 2002, eight cairns were excavated, revealing burnt human bone. This indicates that the cairns contained cremation burials.
Map of SammallahdenmäkiLoad map
Visit August 2005
The ICOMOS report on this site describes it as "spectacular in setting" and "remote". Sammallahdenmäki is well signposted from the major road between Tampere and Rauma. The number of visitors clearly has risen over the years, as there were "100 local schoolchildren" in 1999, and the guestbook now testifies some 10-20 visitors a day in summer. They come from all over the world, from the USA to China, to see this lonely place in Finland.
It still is a quiet and atmospheric place though. Brochures in different languages are available from a self service box and free for use. There is no entrance fee. The cairns are spread out over a rather large area, a track through the woods guides you along.
One can easily walk here for 1.5 hours. The stone cairns aren't the most impressive aspect of this WHS, it's the pristine nature that grabs you. The pure smell, the quietness, the wild mushrooms and foremost the moss that covers large parts of this area. Also I found its high degree of authenticity (sometimes lacking in other WHS) very refreshing.
As a half-day excursion from Rauma, I visited Sammal-something-something. Again: I am not able to memorize Finnish place names exceeding two syllables.
Sammallahdenmäki is a burial site dating from 1500 to 100 BCE. It was originally on the coast. But ever since the ice age ended, the land has been rising and the coast is now 15km away. The burial rites spread to Finland from other parts of Scandinavia.
The cairns are distributed along a rocky hilltop in a forest. They are easy to spot. The surrounding scenery is lovely and I agree with Els that this is probably the main selling point of the site.
There is no wall or fence and you don't have to pay any entry fee. It's surprising how relaxed the Finnish authorities handle preservation and it seems to work. Still, proper trails and some explanatory signposts would go a long way to improve the overall experience.
As far as I know, there are no direct buses to Sammallahdenmaki. Still, with a little walking, you can easily reach the site using public transport. There are regular buses running between Rauma and Huittinen. Get off at Lappi and from there it's a little less than 4km walk to Sammallahdenmaki.
Supposedly, during summer there are also guided tours once a week (Thu 13h) from Rauma including shuttle. But I cannot find the source.
While You Are There
If you are entering via the Southern entry, you will pass a large meat processing plant. They operate a shop/restaurant if you want to grab a bite. Not sure if they cater to vegetarians, though.
Read more from Joel Baldwin here.
In September 2017, I rented a car in Turku to visit southwest Finland's World Heritage Sites. Early on a Tuesday morning, I found myself traipsing through a moss-covered forest floor and over granite boulders to locate some of the nearly 40 burial cairns, some of which date back more than three millennia, that make up the Sammallahdenmäki World Heritage Site. Needless to say, a Bronze Age burial ground is not as appealing as many World Heritage Sites, especially on a cold weekday, so I had the ancient forest to myself.
It was a 4km walk from the bus stop in Lappi village along the road to Eurajoki to the site of Samallahdenmaki. But it was a fine day and there was little traffic so it was quite pleasant. It was very peaceful there as I had the site to myself, but others arrived as I was leaving to catch the bus back to Rauma.
There are several groups of stone cairns, and I visited the 'Church Floor', a large mound of stones tightly compacted together.
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