Bilavas ship setting or "Devils boat"

 Bilavas ship setting or "Devils boat" - a burial site  - is in Lube Parish, about 300 m north-west of Bīlavas Farm, 15 m from the Nogale-Lube road, on the right hand side of the road in the so-called Vidzers Forest. In 1863, at the time when excavation was conducted here by the Jelgava artist and antiquarian Julius Döring, there were two ship settings of large boulders, arranged end to end and oriented NW-SE. Döring excavated the north-western setting, which was better preserved (length: 15 m, width: 3.1 m). In the course of excavation, 10-12 chambers of stone slabs were discovered, arranged one on top of the other in three levels. The fill of the chambers consisted of sand mixed with burnt human bone, charcoal and potsherds. In 1999, under the direction or archaeologist Andrejs Vasks, the south-eastern ‘ship' (length: 15.8 m, width: 3.1 m) was excavated and reconstructed.

The ship settings or ‘Devil's Boats' of northern Kurzeme are regarded as burial sites of Scandinavian immigrants (probably Gotlanders), dating from the first half of the 1st millennium BC. The local people knew a legend about the ‘ships', telling how the district elder Vidzers concluded a pact with the Devil, who undertook to fill the straits between Saaremaa and Cape Kolka with sand, preventing German ships from entering the Gulf of Riga and coming ashore on the Kurzeme coast. In order to do this, the Devil is said to have transported the sand in wooden vessels, but during the night, on the third trip, he was surprised by the cock's crow: the Devil fled back to Hell, and the ships turned to stone. Thus, the ‘Devil's boats' were created and the woods where they lie obtained the name ‘Vidzers Forest'. 

Attached images

Lubes pagasts, Talsu novads
57°25'29.312"N 22°41'33.374"E

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