Trelleborg Viking Fortress
The Trelleborg Viking Fortress is located a few kilometers West of the town of Slagelse on the West side of the island of Zealand. It is located on a peninsula at the confluence of the Tude River and the Vårby River, with the rivers covering two thirds of the fortress circumference.
Using the dendrochronological method - comparing the tree rings in the wood used in the construction - it has been determined that the trees used to build the Trelleborg Viking Fortress were felled between 980 and 981 AD, setting the time of construction at that time.
This model of the Trelleborg Viking Fortress gives a good overview of its layout, with the living quarters inside the walls and the 15 workshops/stables between the inner and outer walls. The square behind the two houses at the back was the cemetary. North on the model is to the left. The fortress would probably house a skeleton crew most of the time, maintaining the fortress between the times when it was needed for military maneuvers or times of war.
The diameter of the Trelleborg Viking Fortress is 180 meters. The inner wall is 17 meters wide and 5 meters high. Trelleborg is the only Danish viking fortress with an outer wall. The fortress covers 15 acres of land.
The fortress has two paths made of oak timber crossing at the middle which function as the main roads of the fortress and divide it up into 4 sections of equal size. All four entrances into the fortress were covered, and arrowheads and scorch marks on the timber found at the gates tell of attacks on the fortress.
This is how the outer covering of the earth wall looked like - rough wooden planks completely covering the earth core of the walls. When Trelleborg Viking Fortress was built, it is assumed that about half the oak timber available on all of the island of Zealand was used in the construction.
The pole positions inside the fortress have had a concrete cap put on them to illustrate the size and outline of each house. Based on the number and size of the houses, the Trelleborg Viking Fortress is expected to have been able to house between 500 and 800 vikings, which was a formidable number at the time.
A reconstruction of one of the 16 houses from inside the fortress has been built outside the fortress area, next to the path from the Trelleborg Museum to the Trelleborg Viking Fortress. A viking house had one main room and a small room at each end of the house. It would house between 30 and 50 people - men, women, children, servants and slaves together. There was a fireplace at the middle of the house where food was prepared, and a seating/sleeping bench or "communal bed" along the entire length of the large main room on both sides. Privacy was not really an option.
- Documentario Corto Acerca del Continente Perdido de La Lemuria (a.k.a. Hiva, Mu, Pacifica)
- Short Documentary About The Lost Continent of Lemuria (aka Hiva, Mu, Pacifica)
Tomado de: http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/esp_lemuria.htm
Trelleborg - Danish Viking Fortress
On the West coast of Zealand, near the town of Slagelse, you find an important part of Danish history - an excavated viking fortress.
The model gives a good overview of the fortress as it looked when it was functional. Using the dendrochronological method, comparing the number and size of rings in the wood found, researchers have dated the building of the fortress back to the period of autumn 980 - spring 981 AD. It is 6 ha. large and housed approximately 450 to 500 vikings, which was the size of a large town at the time. The vikings lived in the houses inside the main wall. The houses outside the main wall - except for two - didn't have fireplaces in them, which has led researchers to conclude that those houses were used for storage and possibly workshops. The open square field all the way back center behind the two houses inside the outer wall is the cemetery. Excavations have shown that both the vikings from the fortress and probably attackers of the fortress are buried there - the attackers thrown together in mass graves. Non of the graves were chieftain graves, like the Ladbyskibet viking grave at Ladby, Funen, which indicates that the "viking generals" were either buried near their family home, or so far from the Trelleborg compound that the grave locations have been destroyed. Looting a chieftain grave was considered a show of strength during the viking age - 800-1050 AD.
What you see today is the foundation of the fortress. Imagine the walls steeper, covered with oak planks, and the four gates - of which you see the excavated Southern gate on the picture - covered, like tunnels, with heavy oak doors, water in the moat and some wooden defences installed in the moat itself.
The only entrance into the fortress was across a bridge over the moat and through the Western gate, which can be seen above. The excavations from 1934 to 1942 revealed a number of arrowheads and scorched materials at the Western gate, which indicate that the gate was under attack at least once.
Inside the fortress were some of the only real roads, made of oak planks, constructed during the viking age - they were extremely rare, and were probably considered status symbols.
The main means of transport then were the waterways, as indicated by the location of Trelleborg at the joining of two (what used to be) rivers close by. Still, Trelleborg wasn't closer to the rivers than it was possible to keep it hidden from the rivers.
During the excavation, the pole holes from the houses that were built inside the walls were capped with concrete, in order to give a better visualization of the size and location of the houses.
Based on the discoveries made during the excavations, a house was re-built along the design lines indicated by the pole holes. Again, the house is made of oak, and one house has probably had 36-50 inhabitants who lived and slept there. Not much privacy in those days. To the left of the picture you can see the reconstruction of a viking ship underway.
Copyright © Hans-Henrik T. Ohlsen 1996-2009
Danish Viking Ships
At the end of the 10th century, a naval barricade was built near Skuldelev in Roskilde Fjord, in order to protect the important trading center Roskilde from attacks. In examinations made in the years 1957-59, done by the Danish National Museum, it became clear that viking ships had been deliberately sunk at the barrier, and constituted the main body of the Peberrenden blockade. In 1962 the excavation of the ships commenced, and in 1969 a museum, Vikingeskibsmuseet, dedicated to these ships and their story, was opened in Roskilde, a town at the bottom of Roskilde Fjord and app. 30 kilometers (20 miles) West of Copenhagen.
Initially the archeologists thought that there were six viking ships, but during the excavation it turned out that there were five - including one very long ship. The ship above is wreck no. 3, with a length of 14 meters (46 feet), a crew of 5-6 men, 7 oar holes and it requires a 0.85 meter (2.8 feet) water depth to be able to float.
The vikings were very skilled shipbuilders. The picture above shows the bow of wreck no. 3, which was made out of one single piece of oak wood, a remarkable piece of craftmanship.
Wreck no. 5 is a small warship, which was built and maintained by the peasants around Roskilde as part of their payment for the defence of their homes. Along the railing you still find pieces of the leather bands that held the viking shields to the side of the ship.
Since the opening of the museum, work to produce exact replicas of the excavated ships has been ongoing at the museum viking ship yard. When the replicas are not taking part in arrangements around the World, they can be found in the harbor next to the Vikingship Museum.
One of these ships, pictured here, is a replica of wreck no. 5, the small warship, named Helge Ask. It has been tested both with sail and oars, and can make a maximum speed of 14 knots and carry 28-30 men. The oars are important in ensuring the ability to sail in any direction, particularly against the wind, which it can do 3 times as fast with oars as by sail. Under sail the ship can go up to 60 degrees into the gain wind. The experiments done with the replicas show that the viking ships of the 10th century are able to perform at least as well as the small freight ships used at the end of the sailship era!
The Viking Ship Museum has a viking ship shipyard next to the museum, where replicas of the excavated ships and other period ships are built. Another viking ship replica, which was built in 2000-2004, is the "Sea Stallion From Glendalough", a large viking warship and a copy of ship no. 2 in the museum, the second longest viking ship ever found. It is 29,4 meters or 96 feet long and 3,8 meters or 12.5 feet wide and only needs a water depth of 1 meter or 3 feet to float. It had a crew of 60-100 men, and was fitted with at least 60 oars. The original was built in Dublin, Ireland around 1042AD following Scandinavian construction tradition, and is a transatlantic vessel. It is ships like this that caused the fear of vikings. Imagine a fleet of up to 260 of ships like this suddenly coming out of the horizon and landing raiding vikings that radically changed the lives of the locals on practically every stretch of coastline and riverside in Europe and Russia. There were only about 300,000 people in all of Scandinavia during the viking age - but they, their travels and conquests are widely known even today.
Copyright © Hans-Henrik T. Ohlsen 1996-2008