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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 Stockade

 

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The stockade as it may have looked in the 10th century

Illustration: Arkæolog Peter Jensen, Moesgård

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In 2006, while the excavation of the northern end of the stone ship was under way, traces were found of a very strongly built stockade.

A little later when the western side of the stockade was unearthed, a little charcoal was found in one of the holes. It was analysed according to the carbon 14 dating method, and it turned out that the stockade was from approximately the year 900, which means the times of the Vikings, the times of Gorm the Old, and Harold Bluetooth.

The stockade is about 375 metres on either side and covers an area of approximately 12 hectares or 12 football fields.

To judge from the traces and the bulges the stockade had consisted of upright, closely placed posts constructed with fortifications for every 1,5 metres by supporting posts on either side.

The post holes have been as deep as 1.20-1.50 metres, and because they were packed with stones and clay on both sides, the stockade has been extremely strong.

In the northern part of the stockade there has been a gate, on both sides of which there were two post holes, which indicates that the entrance has been covered.

The archaeologists estimate the stockade to have been as high as three metres, and most likely a watchman’s gallery has existed inside it.

It can be seen that the shape of the stockade fits with the shape of the stone ship.

The prow and the stern of the stone ship fit perfectly inside the stockade. A lab report on the age of the stone ship showed that it is from around the year 900, perhaps a little earlier. We know that the stone ship is placed under the South Mound, and that the South Mound was erected no later than 970

 


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Click for a larger picture

Illustration: Arkæolog Peter Jensen, Moesgård

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Several houses have been found inside the stockade, all in   all six; they had been put up along the stockade. The houses were 23 metres long and were of the Trelleborg type. 

There might also have been houses in the other three corners. The archaeologists think that the royal estate may have been where the church was found.  

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Click for a larger picture  

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Illustration: Arkæolog Peter Jensen, Moesgård

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Charcoal has been found in several places along the stockade and under the king’s estate where today the church is situated.

Was Harold Bluetooth’s royal seat attacked and burned down? Was that when he gave up Jelling and moved to Roskilde?

 

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One of the suggestions from the people who have done research on Jelling is that the royal seat was attacked and burned down by the German emperor, Otto the First.
Another suggestion is that the attack took place at the end of the rule of Harold Bluetooth, when during the civil war he was at war with his son Sweyn Forkbeard. The outcome of the war was that Harold Bluetooth was wounded by an arrow shot and died a little later.

 

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