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DIY tourist signs to be torn down at 'Sweden's Stonehenge'

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DIY tourist signs to be torn down at 'Sweden's Stonehenge'
Bob G Lind with one of his signs in 2009. Photo: Erland Vinberg/TT
12:23 CEST+02:00
An amateur archaeoastronomist may have lost his 20-year battle to display his own visitor signs at Ales Stenar on the south-western tip of Sweden.
“It's a terrible day,” Bob G Lind, homeopathist, archaeoastronomist, and author, told The Local. “It's the Social Democratic power elite which lies behind this, just as it did when Ingmar Bergman was kicked out of Sweden in 1976." 
 
The 67-year-old first set up the signs at the standing stones in 1997, hoping to publicise his theory that the stones are a sophisticated solar calendar from the Bronze Age, rather than a stone ship from a Viking burial, as most archeologists believe.
 
For close to a decade, Lind and his supporters put up and took down the signs daily during the tourist season. But in 2010, they got permission to erect them permanently.
 
On Thursday, however, the local Ystaad Allenhande newspaper reported  that the National Property Board of Sweden, which recently took over the site, planned to take down the signs, although it wouldn't say what would replace them. 
 
“This is quite a special story, that's no secret,” Johan Henriksson, a property manager for the board,  told Sweden's SVT broadcaster. “And that's the exact reason why I don't want to discuss what's going to go on the signs.” 
 
The official signs currently at the site, put up by the Swedish National Heritage Board, Ystad municipality and Skåne County, say that the 59 stones are a ‘ship setting', built between 600 and 1000 AD as part of a Viking burial.
 
Lind's signs, which stand right next to the official ones, date the stones instead to 750 BC, something archeologists argue has been disproved by carbon dating of material found under the stones. 
 
Lind bases his theory on his studies in archaeoastronomy, which investigates the astronomical knowledge of prehistoric cultures, through analysing standing stones such as Stonehenge. 
 
“Ales Stenar is one of Sweden's top tourist sites, and it brings almost one million people a year. That's nearly as many people who come to Stonehenge in England,” Lind said.
 
“And they're going to take down my wonderful signs which show precisely where the sun goes up and comes down across the whole site over the entire calendar year?  They would be totally crazy. They wouldn't be right in the head.” 
 
He said his theories had led to a significant rise in tourist numbers. 
 
“It brings many, many people here. People come from all over the world, not least Englishmen,” Lind said. “It's much much bigger than Stonehenge. Stonehenge has a relation to sunrise and sunset, but Ales Stenar measures the sunrise and sunset across the calendar year.” 
 
Lind has written a letter to Ingrid Eiken Holmgren, the National Property Board's General Director, and hopes to meet with her as early as next week. 
 
“It's not going to become a reality,” he said of the removal plans. “They can have their signs somewhere else. There's no shortage of space.” 
 
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