Jelling, Vejle, Denmark

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A Viking royal site of the 10th century ad in East Jutland. The complex is dominated by two large mounds, the biggest barrows in Denmark, 78 m in diameter and 11 m high. They are believed to have contained the burials of the last pagan monarchs: Gorm, who died in ad 950, and his queen, Thyra. However, excavations by Ejnar Dyggve in 1941–7 revealed that the southern mound contained no burial, prompting speculation that Gorm and Thyra were buried together in the northern barrow, the chamber of which had been cleared in 1821 and 1861. Between the barrows stands a Romanesque church, outside which is a very fine symbol stone bearing the oldest crucifixion scene yet known in Denmark. A second stone has a magnificent lion drawn on it. Both the stones carry runic inscriptions telling of the exploits and Christian conversion of Gorm the Old and Harald Bluetooth. There are also the remains in the churchyard of a large stone‐edged monument in the shape of a ship.


E. Dyggve, 1948, The royal barrows at Jelling. Antiquity, 22, 190–97

Subjects: Archaeology.

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