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Meeting Point: Denmark (4º ESO)

        Denmark has been inhabited by the Danes since its early prehistoric history.

       The Vikings rose to power during the 9th century. Over the next 300 years Vikings would raid and explore areas around Denmark all the way to the island of England.

        In the late 1300s the Danish Crown became powerful. Queen Margrethe I united Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. This unity lasted until 1520 when Sweden and Finland left the union. Norway left in 1814.

        The Danish Monarchy is over 1000 years old and is one of the oldest monarchies in the world. One of the more famous kings was King Christian IV who ruled Denmark for 59 years. He brought many reforms to the country and also built many structures and towns.

        During WWI Denmark remained neutral and tried to do the same during WWII. However, Germany invaded and took control of Denmark in 1940. Resistance groups formed within Denmark to help fight the Germans and in 1945 they were freed by the Allies.

        Although Danish is the principal language in Denmark, many Danish speak fluent English. The country is run by a constitutional monarchy today where the Queen is largely a figurehead.

  National Museum of Denmark  

        The National Museum of Denmark is the largest museum of cultural history in Denmark.  It covers Danish history, from prehistory until modern times. The National Museum boasts a very large ethnographical collection, a collection of classical and near eastern antiquities, a coin- and medal collection, and a toy museum. You can also visit the Victorian apartment Klunkehjemmet, practically unchanged since 1890.

        The Museum is located in The Prince’s Palace, which was built by Nicolai Eigtved between 1743 and 1744 for Danish Crown Prince Frederik V and Crown Princess Louise. It is no longer used by the royal family, but the Great Hall still appears elegant enough to fit princes and princesses.

        After years of reconstruction, the exhibition on Danish Antiquity has re-opened, including prominent national treasures from Danish prehistory, such as the more than 3,000 years old  the Sun Chariot, the Bronze Age Egtved Girl, the Gundestrup Cauldron and the woman from Huldremose.

        Another  must-see is the amazing collection of archaeological finds from the Viking Age, many of which have never been shown at the exhibition before. You can also read more about the Danish Middle Ages and the stylish Renaissance period.  Another section deals with the turbulent period of German occupation during World War Two. 

Information for visitors to the National Museum

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Nationalmuseet DKCurator Chr. J. Thomsen

The National Museum of Denmark is the world’s oldest ethnographical museum which opened in 1849 and was founded by Chr. J. Thomsen. The collection has its origins in the Royal Cabinet of Curiosities of King Frederik III and Ole Worm from the 17th century.

        Christian Jürgensen Thomsen (December 29, 1788 – May 21, 1865) was a Danish antiquarian who developed early archaeological techniques and methods.

        In 1816 Thomsen was selected to curate Danish Royal Commission for the Collection and Preservation of Antiquities' first exhibition. These collections later developed into the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen.

        While organizing and classifying the antiquities for exhibition, he decided to present them chronologically according to the three-age system.

        Other scholars had previously proposed that prehistory had advanced from an age of stone tools, to ages of tools made from bronze and iron, but these proposals were presented as systems of evolution, which did not allow dating of artifacts. Thomsen refined the three-age system as a chronological system by seeing which artifacts occurred with which other artifacts in closed finds. In this way, he was the first to establish an evidence-based division of prehistory into discrete periods.

        This achievement led to his being credited as the originator of the three-age system of European antiquity. Christian Jürgensen Thomsen placed the system on a more scientific basis by typological and chronological studies, at first, of tools and other artifacts present in the Museum of Northern Antiquities in Copenhagen. He later used artifacts and the excavation reports published or sent to him by Danish archaeologists who were doing controlled excavations. His position as curator of the museum gave him enough visibility to become highly influential on Danish archaeology.

Nationalmuseet DKThe Trundholm Sun Chariot

The Bronze Age in Denmark covers the period 1700 - 500 BC. At the transition from the Neolithic period to the Bronze Age new connections were established between north and south.
        The new metal of bronze, which replaced stone and flint, was imported to Denmark from foreign areas of Europe. Weapons, tools and jewellery were now made of bronze and gold - metals which had to be obtained via the European connections.

        The domesticated horse was introduced to Denmark in the Bronze Age. Together with the sun and the ship it became a central element in the religion of the Bronze Age, as you can see in the Sun Chariot from Trundholm or the gold bowls with horses’ heads from Mariesminde.

        The domestication and spread of the horse is a much-debated subject. However, there is no clear evidence that the domesticated horse came to Europe before the second millennium BC. In the southeastern part of the continent the horse probably arrived in connection with the use of war chariots.

The Sun Chariot is one of southern Scandinavia’s earliest examples of the horse being used as a draught animal. We do not know whether the horse was used as a riding and draught animal at the same time. 

        The Sun Chariot was found in September 1902, when the former bog Trundholm Mose in northwestern Zealand was ploughed for the first time. The Sun Chariot was made in the Early Bronze Age around 1400 BC. The elegant spiral ornamentation that graces the golden sun disc reveals its Nordic origin.

        The Sun Chariot illustrates the idea that the sun was drawn on its eternal journey by a divine horse. A sun image and the horse have been placed on wheels to symbolize the motion of the sun.

        The journey of the sun across the sky was an important element in The Bronze Age religion. We find the motif on bronze objects in large parts of Scandinavia, but the finest example of them all is The Sun Chariot.

    The pictures can be interpreted as a narrative about the sun’s journey across the vault of the heavens by day and through the darkness of the underworld by night. The framework of existence was the eternal cycle with its constant alternation of light and darkness.

        This was illustrated by The Sun Chariot, where a divine horse pulls the sun. The horse was not the sun’s only helper. The imagery of the period is full of ships.  On its journey the sun was also transported by the Sun Ship. Other mythological helpers of the sun were fish, snakes and swimming birds.

        Klaus Randsborg, University of Copenhagen, has pointed out that the sum of an addition of the number of spirals in each circle of the disk, multiplied by the number of the circles in which they are found, counted from the middle (1x1 + 2x8 + 3x20 + 4x25), results in a total of 177, which comes very close to the number of days in six synodic months, only 44 min 2.8 s shorter each.

        The synodic cycle is the time that elapses between two successive conjunctions of an object in the sky, such as a specific star, with the sun. It is the time that elapses before the object will reappear at the same point in the sky when observed from the Earth, so it is the apparent orbital period observed from Earth.

        He asserts his belief that this demonstrates that the disk was designed by a person with some measure of astronomic knowledge and that the sculpture may have functioned as a calendar.

        The Sun Chariot was cast in bronze using a technique called the cire perdue or ‘lost wax’ method. With this method a wax model of the parts of the chariot is made over a clay core. The patterns with which the finished bronze chariot is to be decorated are incised in the wax. The wax model is encased in clay. The whole work is fired, melting the wax and leaving a cavity – or mould – which can then be filled with molten bronze. On the back of the horse there is damage that permits us to look inside the figure and see the inner clay core around which the bronze was cast.

        The Sun Chariot from Trundholm Mose was probably not the only one of its kind. Parts of a golden sun disc are amongst the finds from Jægersborg Hegn in northern Zealand. Perhaps it originally was part of a sun chariot.

                                                       Text modified from:

Curator Flemming Kaul gives an introduction to The Sun Chariot.

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Nationalmuseet DKThe Egtved Girl

Several burial mounds were built in the Early Bronze Age. In the burial mounds the elite of the time were buried, dressed in clothes woven from wool and with fine gifts of bronze.

        The Egtved Girl and the man from Muldbjerg, who lie in their oak coffins, or the family from Borum Eshøj are some well-preserved remains of these ritual burials.

        The Egtved Girl is one of the best-known figures from prehistory. One summer’s day in 1370 BC she was buried in an oak coffin that was covered by the barrow Storehøj near Egtved, west of Vejle.

        Of the girl herself only hair, brain, teeth, nails and a little skin remain. Her teeth reveal that she was 16-18 years old when she died.

        On her body she wore a short tunic and a knee-length skirt made of cords. A belt plate of bronze decorated with spirals lay on her stomach. She also had a comb made of horn with her in the grave, attached to her belt. Around each arm was a ring of bronze and she had a slender ring in her ear. By her face lay a small box of bark with a bronze awl and the remains of a hair net. At the feet of the Egtved Girl a small bucket of bark had been placed, which once contained a type of beer. There was also a small bundle of clothing with the cremated bones of a 5-6-year-old child. A few bones from the same child were found in the bark box.

        When the Egtved Girl’s barrow was excavated in 1921, it was only a shadow of its former self. Earth and materials had been removed from it. Nevertheless there was a well-preserved grave in the eastern part of the mound. The Egtved Girl lay in an oak coffin. This was a hollowed-out, stripped oak trunk. One half functioned as a coffin and the other as its lid.

        Everything lay in the coffin as it had done at the burial almost 3500 years ago.

    Before the Egtved Girl was laid in the coffin it had been lined with a cow skin. She was carefully laid with her grave goods on the soft skin. Afterwards she was covered with a woolen blanket and the coffin was closed. Almost 3500 years later, when the coffin was opened again, there was not much left of the Egtved Girl herself. The cow skin she lay on had also decomposed. The skin had rotted away and only the hair was preserved. However, in these hairs the contours of her body could be seen. One can still see today how the weight of the dead girl’s body pressed the hairs down. A yarrow flower was laid on the edge of the coffin before the lid was put on.  The flower reveals that the Egtved Girl was laid in her grave in the summertime.

        In the Egtved Girl’s grave lay a bundle containing the burnt bones of a 5-6-year-old child. Given the Egtved Girl’s age it cannot have been her own child. Perhaps it was a child who had been sacrificed. From another of the female graves of the Bronze Age we also know of a possible human sacrifice.

        The Egtved Girl was dressed in a striking cord skirt. It went down to her knees, was wound twice around her waist and was 38 cm long. This kind of skirt was in use throughout the Bronze Age. Some small female figures of bronze from Grevensvænge, Zealand, are also dressed in cord skirts. It has been suggested that the figures represent rituals that were performed at the cultic feasts of the Bronze Age. The women who were dressed in cord skirts may have performed ritual dances. Perhaps the Egtved Girl also took part in dancing rituals.

        In the Egtved Girl’s coffin a bark bucket was found. At the bottom lay a thick brown deposit. When the contents of the bucket were analysed it became clear that it had contained a fermented drink – probably beer sweetened with honey. The drink was made from cow-berries or cranberries. Wheat grains, remains of bog myrtle and large quantities of pollen (including lime pollen) were also found.

                                                           Text adapted from:

Curator Flemming Kaul gives an introduction to The Egved Girl, a young woman who dies and was burried in the bronze age.

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Nationalmuseet DKThe Gundestrup Cauldron

The Early Iron Age in Denmark covers the period from 500 BC until 400 AD and is divided into three periods: Pre-Roman or Celtic Iron Age (500 - 1 BC), Early Roman Iron Age (1 - 200 AD) and Late Roman Iron Age (200 - 400 AD).

        In the time around 500 BC people began to extract iron from local deposits. People were no longer dependant on bronze from distant areas of Europe. In addition, iron was a much stronger and more suitable metal for weapons and tools. A new metal, silver, appeared in the time around the Birth of Christ. The large silver cauldron from Gundestrup is a good example of this. At the same time the Romans invaded large parts of western Europe. The Roman Empire’s proximity led to significant cultural and social changes in Denmark.

        In 1891 a precious silver cauldron appeared during peat-digging in the bog Rævemosen, near Gundestrup in Himmerland. Interestingly enough, this bog is near Borre Fen (where Borremose Man and Borremose Woman were later found).

        The vessel had been deposited in the bog – an immensely valuable sacrifice to the powers above. Before this occurred the cauldron had been taken apart. The rim and the large silver plates, which make up its sides, were taken off and placed in the bottom of the vessel. The Gundestrup Cauldron is one of the most important objects ever discovered in a bog.  

        Made of silver, the cauldron depicts in a series of seven raised plates various scenes that illustrate deities and, perhaps, human sacrifice. The Gundestrup Cauldron’s motifs draw the observer into an alien universe far from that of the people who deposited it in the bog in north Jutland. Elephants, lions and several unknown gods, represented in a foreign style, indicate that the cauldron originally came from a distant area to the south or southeast. Exactly where it was made is still open to question. Perhaps it was a gift to a great chieftain or part of a war booty.

         The Gundestrup Cauldron was probably made between 150 BC and the Birth of Christ. The figures are decorated with carefully punched patterns. This sophisticated technique flourished in the centuries before the Birth of Christ among the Thracians, who lived in the area that is now Bulgaria and Romania. In style too the cauldron looks like Thracian silver work. However, several of the objects depicted are Celtic, such as the helmets and the Celtic war trumpet (carnyx). It is most likely that the cauldron was made where Celtic and Thracian peoples lived close together, probably in southwest Romania or northwest Bulgaria.

        The silver cauldron consists of a hemispherical base, a base plate, seven outer and five inner plates richly decorated and a rim. It weighs nearly 9 kg. Various gods and goddesses are shown on the outer panels of the Gundestrup Cauldron. Some are associated with life, fertility and beauty, others with death and destruction. The inner plates show more complicated scenes, including a procession of warriors, a bull sacrifice and a god with antlers surrounded by lions, deer and gryphons. Perhaps this god was regarded as ruler over the forces of nature and wild animals.

         A closer examination of the Gundestrup Cauldron in 2002 revealed previously unknown images, very faintly scratched on the back of the plates.

         The Gundestrup cauldron holds a warrior plate which can be understood as a graphical storyteller, telling the story of the warriors who had fallen on the battlefield. Below are a series of fighters, including figures playing on carnyx’s who had just fallen in battle. They are in an intermediate position in the underworld. Warriors move to the left toward a giant figure with a large powerful kettle or cauldron, a deity who decides who shell live and who shell die. The god or goddess dip the fallen worrior one by one in “the cauldron of fate”. The warriors will not be resurrected as people in this world, but resurrected in a heavenly world, and even promoted as officers and riders. Now they ride to the right, in the direction of the light, towards their ultimate goal. A horizontal branch or tree can be seen as the horizontal line that marks the earth with its plants. This horizontal line symbolises the underworld beyond and heaven and the good afterlife above.

The farmers in the Early Iron Age lived together in small, fenced villages. These were not always peaceful and friendly though is testified by the weapon offering from Hjortspring Mose.
        One of these farmers could be the woman from Huldremose, a famous  bog body.
        You can feel as a history detective discovering the actual way the woman from Huldremose died; she was laid in the bog dressed in her finest clothes, but Why? 
        In the 2nd century BC the body of a woman was laid in an old peat-digging hole in Huldremosen, at Ramten in Djursland. A violent cut with a sharp tool had almost severed her right upper arm before she died. The oxygen-poor conditions in the bog meant that the woman was preserved as a bog body with skin, hair, clothes and stomach contents.

     What is known as bog bodies?  A bog body is a human corpse that has been naturally mummified within a peat bog. Such bodies are both geographically and chronologically widespread, having been dated to between 9000 BCE and the Second World War.The unifying factor of the bog bodies is that they have been found in peat and are partially preserved; however, the actual levels of preservation vary widely from perfectly preserved to mere skeletons.

    Unlike most ancient human remains, bog bodies have retained their skin and internal organs due to the unusual conditions of the surrounding area. These conditions include highly acidic water, low temperature, and a lack of oxygen. While the skin is well-preserved, the bones are generally not, due to the acid in the peat having dissolved the calcium phosphate of bone.

    The oldest known bog body is the skeleton of Koelbjerg Woman from Denmark, who has been dated to 8000 BCE, during the Mesolithic period. The oldest fleshed bog body is that of Cashel Man, who dates to 2000 BCE during the Bronze Age.

    The overwhelming majority of bog bodies – including famous examples such as Tollund Man, Grauballe Man and Lindow Man – date to the Iron Age and have been found in Northern European lands, particularly Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Such Iron Age bog bodies typically illustrate a number of similarities, such as violent deaths, leading archaeologists to believe that they were killed and deposited in the bogs as a part of a widespread cultural tradition of human sacrifice or the execution of criminals.

The newest bog bodies are those of soldiers killed in the Russian wetlands during the Second World War.


        When the woman from Huldremose ended her days and was brought to a bog in Djursland more than 2000 years ago, bogs were an extremely important resource for Iron Age people. Turfs were dug there, which both were used as building material and fuel. Some bogs contained iron ore, which was a raw material that, after processing, could be made into iron. The bogs therefore had a great significance in daily life. More importantly though, bogs and water areas were also the gateway between the world of mankind and the world of the gods. Here people made sacrifices to the gods by sinking gifts into the water. These gifts were slaughtered domestic animals, clothes, shoes, jewellery, tools and pottery vessels filled with food. The offerings may have been intended to secure a good and plentiful harvest. The greatest sacrifice that people could make was that of another human being.

        When the woman from Huldremose was found in 1879, it was first believed that she had been the victim of a crime. Around the same time a man was reported missing in the area. The district doctor, Mr. Steenberg, was called to help with the case. The body was taken to the nearest farm, where it was undressed and washed. When it was realized that the body was that of a woman, the criminal case was abandoned and the corpse was then buried in the churchyard. Later Steenberg made contact with the National Museum, which asked the local authorities to dig the body up again. Shortly afterwards the woman and her clothes were sent to Copenhagen.

        Like most of the bog bodies found in Denmark the woman from Huldremose was fully clothed. The clothes of the woman from Huldremose are very well preserved, despite being almost 2000 years old. Doctor Steenberg wrote the following to the National Museum: “The hole body was covered with woollen clothes."  He had also made sure that the woman’s clothes were washed and wrote: “The clothes are now hanging out to dry at my farm after being washed." Inspite of the hard treatment the 2000-year-old costume is one of the most well-preserved examples of prehistoric textiles.

       She was dressed in a costume consisting of a checked woollen skirt, a checked woollen scarf and two skin capes. The skirt was tied at the waist with a thin leather strap inserted into a woven waistband. The scarf was wrapped around the woman’s neck and fastened under her left arm with a pin made from a bird bone. On her upper body she wore a cape made from several dark brown sheep skins, with a collar of light-coloured sheep skin. The wool side of the skin cape was turned outwards. Under this was another cape with the wool side turned inwards. This was made from 11 small dark lamb skins. The cape had been used a great deal and had 22 patches sewn on. However, one of the patches did not cover a hole. Instead it contained a fine worked bone comb, a thin blue hairband and a leather cord, all wrapped in a bladder. Clearly the patch cannot be interpreted as a pocket, as it had to be cut open in order to get the things out. The sewn-in objects have probably functioned as amulets.

        The woman was more than 40 years old when she ended up in the bog. She was an old woman by Iron Age standards of life expectancy.

        We do not know the exact circumstances surrounding the death of the woman from Huldremose. She was fully clothed, had a ring on her finger, amulets in one of her skin capes and two amber beads around her neck. Her possessions were not stolen by the killers. On her breast lay a stick of willow. These features indicate care for the dead, similar to that which takes place at a funeral. Under all circumstances she did not receive a normal burial in the form of a funeral pyre or interment like other Iron Age people.

        Medical analysis has shown that the woman from Huldremose received a violent cut to the right upper arm. It was previously believed that the cut to the arm was the cause of death and the woman died as a result of subsequent loss of blood. However, later examinations have not confirmed this theory and it is also possible that the injury occurred much later, perhaps during peat-digging in the bog. Her hair was tied up with a long woollen cord, which was also wrapped around her neck several times. However, there are no marks on her throat or elsewhere, which can be interpreted as signs of strangulation. Perhaps instead the cord was of symbolic significance? Strangled people are known from other Danish bog finds (the bodies from Elling and Borremose or the Tollund Man). Thus there are strong indications that the woman from Huldremose did not die of natural causes.                     

        The find of the woman has encouraged many different debates and interpretations over the years. Of course, one possible interpretation is that she was killed and then placed in the bog as a sacrifice.

                                          Text adapted from:

Curator Flemming Kaul gives an introduction to the Huldremose Woman, a bogmummy from the iron age.

 Museums with Bog Bodies & Objects - Denmark 

Copenhagen: The Nationalmuseet displays the Huldremose Woman and the Stidsholt head, both recovered in the bogs.

Moesgård: The Forhistorisk Museum (near Aarhus) displays many prehistoric artifacts recovered from the area, including a bog body called the Grauballe Man.

Odense: The Fyns Oldtid-Hollufgärd exhibits the Koelbjerg Woman, bog remains recovered in 1941.

Silkeborg: The Silkeborg Museum is famous for its outstanding exhibit of the Tollund Man, perhaps the most famous bog body in the world. Of all the bog bodies on display, this is one not to be missed.

Vejle: The St. Nicolai Church exhibits the bog remains of Haraldskær Woman, otherwise known as "Queen Gunhild."

Nationalmuseet DKVikings

        Denmark was the heartland of viking society in the viking age between 800-1050 AD.
        Viking raids left from Denmark and fleets of Danish viking ships attacked and plundered towns, churches and monasteries throughout Western Europe and sailed as far away as Constantinople.             Danish vikings were excellent merchants who traded with most of their known world. Danish vikings settled in countries like France and England and were influential in shaping their destinies.

Explore the world of the vikings with curator Flemming Kaul as guide.

        The word Viking means a pirate, and the noun Viking means a pirate raid.
        It's a Scandinavian word describing the seafaring raiders from Scandinavia, but has come to mean all Scandinavians in the viking age between 800 and 1050 AD. If you walked up to somebody at that time and told him or her that he or she was a viking they'd have no idea what you were talking about and probably tell you that somebody in their family or among their friends had gone off on a raid and that they were vikings.

        Vikings lived in or came from what today is called Scandinavia or the Scandinavian countries:
Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
        During the viking age Norwegian vikings settled in Ireland, Iceland, Greenland and even had a camp in Wineland, today's Newfoundland. Danish vikings settled in France, England and Ireland and became life guards to the emperor in Constantinople, today's Istanbul. Swedish vikings sailed the rivers that end in the Baltic Sea, mainly in today's Russia.

3D-animation of Tissø in The Viking Age, visualizing the royal complex at the time around 900 AD.

        The Vikings and the Viking age plays a domination part of the Danish self perception. No historical person has ever been given a bigger value as symbol and no period of history has ever been so influenced so much by our own modern historical perception.

     Welcome to the to "The Vikings," a Web site by NOVA.
    The site examines a new, less barbarian image of the Norsemen based on recent archeological investigations. Here's what you'll find online:

Write Your Name in Runes
See your name spelled in runes and learn the meaning of each of the letters in the Viking alphabet

Viking Runes Through Time

 History of the Norse writing system.

Who Were the Vikings?

Smithsonian archeologist William Fitzhugh reveals what drove the Vikings on their adventures to distant shores.

Secrets of Viking Ships

How did longships and other vessels help the Norsemen navigate distant waters so successfully?   Runic alphabet     

Nordic Gods

Meet the Gods and Goddesses of the Norse Pantheon
                         ( from Norse Religion Page )

Norse mythology A to Z (PDF)  by Kathleen N. Daly.

Old Norse words in the English Language

  Old Norse words in the English Language      So, you think you can't speak Danish? Well, perhaps you need to think again, at least if English is your native tongue.

        A large group of every-day-words you use in English actually has a Danish, or rather Old Norse origin; name of week days, maritime terms etc. You'll also find traces in English place names (e.g. in endings such as -by, -thorpe, -gate, and -toft).

        It is estimated that of the 5,000 basic words in English, as many as 20 percent are so-called loan words from the Old Norse language (ON) which was spoken throughout Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway and Sweden) as well as in Scandinavian settlements and colonies.

Also visit these websites:

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   Viking Ship Museum - Roskilde   

        The Viking Ship Hall is located on to Roskilde Fjord. The building was built to house the Viking ships found in Roskilde Fjord and was listed in 1997.

        The Viking Ship Museum is Denmark’s museum for ships, seafaring and maritime crafts in prehistoric and medieval times. In collaboration with several other Danish museums, the Viking Ship Museum performs maritime archaeological investigations of ancient and medieval ship finds and maritime constructions along the Danish coasts and in Danish territorial waters. The Viking Ship Museum is a cross-disciplinary environment in which craftsmen, academics and seamen work together in order to discover more about maritime cultural heritage.

        The permanent exhibition consist of the five Skuldelev ships, and tells the history of the ships as well as the history of the Nordic maritime adventure during the Viking Age. The Museum invites you to go on a journey through years of passionate work with the ships of the Vikings – from the excavation and assembling of the big, scientific puzzle, the We step 50 years back to the excavation, get close to the boatbuilders and follows the sailing reconstructions on trial voyages.

        The later years of the 11th century were tough and troubled times. The Vikings therefore established a series of blockades in Roskilde Fjord to protect Roskilde, the then capital of Denmark, against attack by sea.

        The five ships on display in the Viking Ship Hall were scuttled to form a blockade in the Peberrende, a natural channel in Roskilde Fjord near Skuldelev, some 20 km north of Roskilde. That is why they are known as the Skuldelev ships. 

        They were excavated from the sea bed in 1962. The blockade was surrounded by iron sheet piling and the site then drained. In less than four months, the five ships were successfully excavated in thousands of pieces. There then remained the colossal task of conserving the timber fragments and, not least, of assembling all the pieces of the jigsaw to recreate five Viking ships.

        The find contained five different ship types, which together provide a unique impression of Viking shipbuilding skills and craftsmanship. 

    The ship known as Roskilde 6  is the longest ever found and consists on the surviving timbers of a 37-metre-long Viking warship. It was excavated from the banks of Roskilde fjord in Denmark during the course of work undertaken to develop the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum in 1997. Since the excavation, the timbers have been painstakingly conserved and analysed by the National Museum of Denmark.

        The surviving timbers – approximately 20% of the original ship - have now been re-assembled for display in a specially made stainless steel frame that reconstructs the full size and shape of the original ship. The construction of the ship has been dated to around AD 1025, the high point of the Viking Age when England, Denmark, Norway and possibly parts of Sweden were united under the rule of Cnut the Great. The size of the ship and the amount of resources required to build it suggest that it was almost certainly a royal warship, possibly connected with the wars fought by Cnut to assert his authority over this short-lived North Sea Empire.

  As the Roskilde 6 is the centre of the exhibition The BP exhibition Vikings: life and legend opened at the British Museum on 6 March 2014, you will not enjoy it at the Roskilde Ship Museum during your visit.


Los barcos y la navegación vikinga

Denmark and Copenhagen Information

Types of Viking Ships

Viking Longships

Viking Ship Finds - Archeology

Longship Explained

(Everything Explained.At)

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Vikings: Life & Legend



  6 March – 22 June 2014  

        Exhibition at The British Museum  

The Vikings are coming… British Museum launches the BP exhibition Vikings life and legend

       In March 2014 the British Museum will open the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery with a major exhibition on the Vikings, supported by BP. The exhibition has been developed with the National Museum of Denmark and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) and focuses on the core period of the Viking Age from the late 8th century to the early 11th century.

        Discover the world of the Vikings in this major exhibition – the first at the British Museum for over 30 years.

        The Viking Age (800–1050) was a period of major change across Europe. The Vikings expanded from their Scandinavian homelands to create an international network connecting cultures over four continents, where artistic, religious and political ideas met.

        The Vikings’ skill in shipbuilding and seafaring was central to their culture and achievements, and at the heart of the exhibition will be a 37-metre-long warship (Roskilde n.6). Found in 1997, and dating to around 1025, it is the longest Viking ship ever discovered. Many other new discoveries, including part of a mass grave of Viking warriors, will be on display for the first time showing how our understanding of the Vikings is still being changed by new excavations and recent research.

        The exhibition will also present personal objects, including jewellery, amulets and idols, which help to reveal more about how the Vikings saw themselves and their world. Exquisite objects, including the magnificent Vale of York Hoard, demonstrate the global reach of the Viking network of trade, plunder and power – a network that left a lasting legacy in countries from Ireland and the UK to Russia and Ukraine.

        Enter a world of warriors, seafarers and conquerors to discover the many fascinating aspects of a history that is both strangely alien yet remarkably familiar.

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Roskilde Cathedral

        A visit to Roskilde Cathedral is a journey through centuries of Danish history. The first church on the site, made of wood, was built in the 900s by King Harald Bluetooth and was replaced in the following century by a stone church. 

        Roskilde Cathedral was built during the 12th and 13th centuries and incorporates both Gothic and Romanesque architectural design. The Cathedral was Scandinavia's first Gothic cathedral to be built of brick which encouraged the spread of this style throughout most of Europe.

        Roskilde Cathedral is worth visiting for its architectural value and the beauty of its interior, as well as for its historical significance. The cathedral has been the burial church for Danish royalty since the 15th century, with the numerous side chapels and porches added on over the years.

        Among those who have found their final resting place at Roskilde is Queen Margrethe I (known as Margareta I in Sweden), the founder of the Kalmar Union, which united all three Scandinavian countries under one ruler for more than a century from 1397 to 1523.

        The gilded altarpiece was made in Antwerp around 1560 and depicts various scenes from the life of Jesus Christ, including the events of Easter Week, Christ’s death, and his childhood. On the reverse side are scenes of Christ’s good works.

        Roskilde Cathedral also contains numerous side chapels, including Trolle’s Chapel, notable for the distinctive troll figure in its wrought-iron grating . But one of the most interesting side chapels is the Chapel of the Magi, also known as Christian I’s Chapel.

World Heritage site
In 1995 Roskilde Cathedral was included in UNESCO's list of the world's inalienable cultural treasures and select by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.

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   Hans Christian Andersen   --    Fairy Tales and Stories  

   Hans Christian Andersen -- Fairy Tales and Stories (Website) 

A complete list of Andersen’s 168 tales, in the chronological order of their original publication

English Translation: H. P. Paull (1872)

Original Illustrations by Vilhelm Pedersen and Lorenz Frølich   

 1835   The Tinder-Box

        The  Danish story writer Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) - wrote the little fairytale about  The Tinder Box, in 1835 - where the brave soldier met an old ugly witch, who told him about the old hollow tree with the three loaded money-chest that could make him rich - but were guarded by tree dogs - one with eyes as big as saucers, one with eyes as big as mill wheels and one with eyes as big as the Round Tower of Copenhagen. The Round Tower is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe.

       King Christian IV took the initiative after advice from his own astronomer Christian Longomontanus to establish a new observatory, in the Latin Quarters of the City and named it the Round Tower.

      The Kings original idea from the start was to build an observatory identically like Tycho Brahe’s Stjerneborg on the top of the Round Tower. The Tower was completed as an observatory with a little planetarium in 1642 and has a height of almost 40 m including the observatory. The Round Tower is built with a 210 meter long spiral ramp, which leads to the top, and on the uppermost facade of the tower there is a gilded inscription like a rebus. As a part of the Trinitatis Complex, the Round Tower is built together with Trinitatis church as it was the King’s idea to build a University Church especially for scholars and students at Copenhagen’s University. The foundations stone was laid by the King in 1637 and the Church was inaugurated in 1656.

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   Activities &  Workbooks   

        Here you have the two activity books specially designed for your exchange visit to Denmark.
You can download the on-line version if you need to use the links or to have a look at the pictures.

         Meeting point: Denmark is the workbook to be completed in your classes (Alternativa, Proyecto Integrado) before the visit.
    It consists of both contents and activities about Denmark: geography, culture, everyday life, educational system, history, literature and reading activities....
    The subtitle (To Travel Is To Live) recalls the memory of H.C. Andersen and his literary work.

         Meeting point: Denmark - Logbook  is an activity booklet to be completed during your visit at Denmark.
    It consists of some easy and short activities about the places to visit.
    This is your logbook: don´t leave it by the wayside! Coming back to Granada you´ll be required to give your logbook answers as your travel report.
Write Your Name in Runes
    See your name spelled in runes and learn the meaning of each of the letters in the Viking alphabet 
( Launch Interactive )

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