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The wild life of the Vikings..........

Jelling   Denmark

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photos

runic stones in Jelling

The Jelling Church

The Jelling Mounds

 

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The Secrets of the Smith's Pond

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The Defences of Harold Bluetooth in Jelling

Before renovating the Smith’s Pond opposite Gorm’s Mound, the archaeologists wanted to examine its muddy bottom.

The purpose was to find traces of the large stockade, which crosses the south-western corner of the pond. The hope was that the clay, mud, and acidy bottom might have been able to prevent the oak posts from rotting. During the Viking Ags water had also been reported there

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Click for a larger picture



The dry Smith’s Pond

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The water in the pond was pumped away, and digging was undertaken on the line of the stockade, and they succeeded at once. 70 centimetres below the bottom of the pond four oak posts appeared. Three samples were taken and sent to carbon 14 dating. All three samples offered the same result: the oak was from the Viking Age.

The Smith’s Pond had preserved the wood for more than 1000 years.

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Four posts have been found, and also one of the upright stakes between the supporting posts. The stakes are 10-12 centimetres thick and square. The posts stand two by two on either side of the stake wall separated by a distance of about  one metre. The discovered posts stand in the line of the stockade, and are therefore part of the defences of Harold Bluetooth.  The 31 metres at the bottom of the pond may still preserve more posts and stakes.

Here the stockade stands in the pond

 

During the dig the archaeologists could see that the oak posts had been driven into the clay. No ditch had been dug out first as had been the case when working on the remaining 1440 metre-long stockade. So the site must have been moist with water during the Viking Age.  

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The archaeologists want to carry out a minor examination of the line of the stockade found in the Smith’s Pond, and they hope to find a sufficiently well preserved post to take up and date according to the growth rings, and then they will know precisely which year and perhaps which time of the year the tree was felled.

It is quite likely that more posts can be found in the part of the Smith’s Pond where digging has not yet been undertaken. If an exact year can be found through the dating of the growth rings, it may be possible for the archaeologists to link the stockade in Jelling    

historically with Ravningebroen  and ringborgene, which were built between 979 and 981 during the reign of Harold Bluetooth.

By a closer examination of the remains of the stockade at the bottom of the Smith’s Pond, it may be possible to have more detailed information on the construction of the area.

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The Largest Viking Area in Denmark

The stockade which encircled the royal estate, runestenene (the runic stones) and the two gravhøje (mounds) was found in 2005 in Jelling. It measured 360x360 metres, altogether 1440 metres of stockade about three metres high. It is the largest Viking area in Denmark. In 1994 it was included in UNESCO´s World Heritage List where also Stonehenge and The Chinese Wall are featured.

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Illustration: Arkæolog Peter Jensen, Moesgård

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