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Trip with the society "Archaeology on the Way" to Southern Denmark 010903-010910

Monday 3rd of September
We woke up at 5:30 a.m. and departed after 6:30 a.m. to Partille where we parked at Örjan and Evy. Also Jack, Ingela and Lars departed with one of the mini vans from them. We arrived at the central station early enough to have time to change money at Forex, instead of at the boat as we had planned. The ferry to Fredrikshavn departed at 9:30 a.m. and we had a large combined breakfast and lunch. Luckily it was a pretty calm and sunny day. We spent a couple of hours on a sofa. I was reading and Christina had to work for a while.

We arrived about 1 p.m. in Denmark and Örjan continued to drive our van southwards on the highway. We made a short stop for going to the toilets, where I took over the driving. Mari seemed to prefer to continue the driving in the other bus, so Christina just went with it, although she should be the co-driver. We arrived through some smaller roads to Hørning church in small village. The most remarkable with this church is that it's built upon a small, old staff church. The staff church is dated 1060-1070. The stone church is built in the 12th century and enlarged during the 17th century. They had discovered a part of a staff about 150 years ago and then had uncovered a large part of the floor after 1960. The old man who guided us had made a nice copy of the staff. But the current church is nicely decorated as it is today. The baptismal font is from 1689 and the gate to some tomb was really nicely decorated in metal. The entrance to the tomb was decorated with skeleton heads of plaster. The coffins were also nicely decorated. We also took a walk around the graveyard, which is nice with low well-cut hedges around the tombs. The top of the clock tower was covered with lead roof. Some drizzling, although it soon changed to sun.

We continued to the moss of Illerup, where they had found a lot of sacrifices. Probably it's loot won in a war, constituting of weapons, shields, even a few longboats and a lot of other stuff. It was a nice walk down to the moss, although we didn't see much. The findings are dated from 200 to 500 AC

Then it was time to drive the last bit to Fredericia and the five-star youth hostel. We had a nourishing and good dinner with apple pie to the coffee.

After dinner did most of us make a walk down to the historic mini-village beside the hostel. It's a copy of old Fredricia. Then we sat on the terrace outside the rooms and talked until nearly 10 p.m. and then we were too tired to stay awake after a long day and went to bed.

Tuesday 4th of September
We slept well and had a good breakfast before we left at 9 a.m. I took the first driving today. The sun came up quite quick after a morning of drizzling.

First we made a short stop at the pole barrier of Gudsø, East of Kolding before we continued southward on the old "härvägen". It's today a relatively small way. A nice stop at the old stone bridge "Immevad", which substituted a wooden bridge at the 17th century. Before that was it a ford since several centuries.

We continued to see the rune stone of Haerulf, which had been in a garden outside Berlin during several years, before it was moved back to its original location. We also made a short walk on a field to a grave hill called Strangel.

Next stop was at the old earth wall Ae-vold, mostly known as Vendervold. Nowadays you really only see the moat, which mostly looks like a ditch.

At a lunch stop in Rødekro we had a hamburger and Örjan took care of the driving to the museum in Haderslev. It was a quite large exhibition, mostly about the sacrifices in the moss of Ejsbøl from 300 to 400 AC. I felt quite tired after the museum. We also strolled around the outdoor exhibition, with several old houses, which were moved to the museum.

Time to go to Ribe and the apartment hotel "Ribe byferie". Some of us went to a supermarket to buy breakfast for four days plus garden dinner to the evening for all 17 persons in the group. It took some time and everything wasn't fixed before after 8 p.m. We had nice dinner with assorted plates and most had bought wine to drink. We were quite tired when we went to bed.

Wednesday 5th of September
We went up around 6 am for breakfast and dressed in our Viking clothes. Our departure was at 7:30 towards the German border. Luckily Ingela had got her passport, which she had forgot, through express delivery from Sweden. We arrived to Schleswig and the Schloss Gottorf museum. Our main interest here was the boat of Nydam (around 350 AC) and the sacrifices of the moss of Thorsbjerg. They had very interesting things from weapons and particularly I thought the description how to make good swords was interesting. I never had realised how much work it was behind it. Christina was more interested in the clothes findings and studied how they were made. We also made a quick tour into the main museum. There were also some findings of clothes from a woman in another moss plus a skull of a man, which still had plaited hair. Afterwards it showed that the cafe shouldn't open until noon, so we departed earlier than planned.

Next stop was in Haithabu (=Hedeby) just outside Schleswig. First we wanted to eat something, but the restaurant was booked for a large group! Anyway we managed to get coffee and a large cheese sandwich on dark bread. Better than nothing!

The exhibition was excellent with a lot of findings from the old market and trading place, which developed now and then to a small town. Of course was Christina mostly interested in the fabrics and clothes. They had even a couple of rune stones. The exhibited boat was a bit of a disappointment and the movie was only in German, so we avoided it. We had some time to spend in the sun, resting our aching feet until we was guided by Susan Zahn, who was very enthusiastic telling us about Haithabu, when we made a sort walk in the area. She had so much to tell us, so we were short of time when we continued to Danewerk (=Dannevirke).

A historian guided us through the exhibition of Dannevirke earth wall. Unfortunately he read directly from his notes and he was talking so slowly so most of the people soon lost interest. Anyway we made a short walk to a part of the wall that had been improved with bricks up to 7 meters. The oldest parts of the wall are dated from around 700 AC. It had been enlarged several times during the next centuries, including the brick wall.

On the way back to Denmark were we stopped by the traffic polices, who wanted to check our driving licences. Although we drove in a high tempo, they didn't think we drove to fast, as some of the others. The worst hassle on the roads were people who wanted to pass and were stuck less than a metre from our back... It was really irritating. Mari thought it was passport control, so she demanded a stamp in the passport and some of us other also got it!

In Denmark we took another way to pass Olgerdiket, another earth wall nearby, although this was even more difficult to see. This was built in the 3rd century.

At the hostel we changed into normal clothes quickly and then took the vans to the centre to "Café Grillen", where we had a great three-course dinner. Afterwards we returned to the apartments, although I had to make an extra tour back to the restaurant, as Evy had forgotten her handbag there. We were quite tired when we went to bed.

Thursday 6th of September
We had good time to get enough sleep this morning. After breakfast we dressed in our Viking clothes again. At 9:45 we departed for Ribe Viking museum, which is in the centre of the town. The shop made several of the participants, including Christina to run berserk... They had plenty of nice and not too expensive Viking jewellery, books and other stuff. There was a large school class ahead of us, so we made the decision to wait a while before entering the exhibition. Anyway the exhibition was interesting with findings from Ribe. There had been a lot of skilful craftsmen, particularly in making glass beads. Some of the other and I saw a cartoon with the worlds creation according to the Nordic mythology. There was also a temporary exhibition with applications in fabrics with a Viking theme.

We had time to eat a large sandwich before we went to a city tour with the keeper of the museum. Lene had also been digging in and around Ribe, so she knew her subject well. We walked mostly in the old part of the town, where the Vikings had lived. The town had been flooded several times during the years, as well as being haunted by fire and plague, so that's probably the reason it's still not really large although it's the oldest town in Denmark. The tour was over 1,5 hour, before we returned. Just Mari, Christina and me wanted to see a film about the Vikings of Ribe.

Afterwards we went home with the vans to change back to normal clothes. A walk back to town where Christina and Mari went out to look for fabrics. Meanwhile I went up to the roof of the cathedral tower to have a great view over the town. You could really see the marsh around the town and I could imagine how easily it could be flooded here. Down the main street did I find the girls quite easily and there were still a few shops to enter before we walked home, after shopping some drinks and food.

Just before 7 p.m. we went to the restaurant "Saelhunden" by the small port in the channel. Some had already arrived by foot. We had a good meal of fish here.

When we had returned home with the vans and rested a while, Mari drove us back to town before 10 p.m. The night guard of Ribe attracted 60-70 people. We went around the medieval part of the town and now and then he stopped on a stair and talked about people and buildings of Ribe. He was dressed in an old kind of police uniform and wore candlelight and a morning star on a spear. It was interesting to hear what he told us in both Danish and English, although he omitted the jokes in English! The guard had been active between 1501 to 1902 and the tourist office had decided already 1932 that he should restart as a guide in the town. After 40 minutes had we returned to the centre and we walked home. It was near midnight when we went to bed.

Friday 7th of September
Finally we had good time to sleep in the morning and eat breakfast calmly. It had rained during the night, but was pretty sunny now, when we took on our Viking clothes and departed 10:45 a.m. to the Ribe Viking Centre, which is just South of Ribe.

We had a good guide called Bjarne, who guided us around this activity centre. They had built houses from 3 different ages of the Vikings. The oldest part was built like Ribe centre in the beginning, with the street, which now is Nicolajgade in he middle.

He spoke longer than he intended and I had to rush to see the falconer, whom I found, was very fascinating. The girls were good with handling the three different falcons they had in the show, meanwhile they were telling us about them. Later saw we that they totally had five falcons and one owl.

I strolled around a while among the different activities, as making of fabrics, glass beads etc, before we had to go and eat a sandwich for lunch.

Örjan took over the driving to Skaerback, where we visited Hjemsted Oldtidspark. This museum and activity centre was concentrated on the Roman Iron Age. The museum was quite interesting for me, but a gold mine for those who liked dresses and fabrics, among them Christina. We also saw a short film about the time period.

Maj-Britt and I found the archery range, where we tried to shoot with bow and arrows. It was pretty difficult. It had been quite cloudy and some drizzling. Afterwards did we return to the exit of the museum and Christina had looked for me to take photos of several dresses from the Iron Age. Most of the other sat in a house with a German family, who temporary lived and worked there. They offered us meat and vegetable soup. I tested a heavy chain mail with a Roman helmet and sword.

After some more shopping we went around the corner to the restaurant "Den Gyldene Galt" (=the golden pig") where we had a meal called "the Roman Pepino" with a lot of small courses. For the first time I tested snails (tasted mostly garlic), frog legs (a milder taste than chicken) and oysters (a quite tasteless mess), but there were a lot of other nice things.

It was quite windy when we then drove to Rømø. It was a really large and flat sand beach where we stopped. We were freezing, although we could warm each other beneath my mantle. Mari took off her shoes and went into the sea! We looked at several kites flying in the wind, but were glad to return into the vans again to return to Ribe.

At Ribe Byferie did we pack some of our stuff and then when to Mari with about half of the group, where we drank some wine and had a nice time until late. It was near midnight when we went to bed.

Saturday 8th of September
Up at 7 am for breakfast and packing. Our departure was at 9 a.m. The sun was shining but it soon started to rain. Fortunately the sun came back at our first stop at Baekke ship barrow with a rune stone.

Our next stop was the tomb of the Egtved woman. The landowner found 1921 an oak chest with one of the few findings of clothes from the Bronze Age. As it rained heavily when we arrived, we had to park the vans besides each other so Mari could tell the story. As soon as it ceased to rain we rushed out to the tomb and the exhibition.

On yet another small road we arrived to Ravning Enge, where an 800-meter long wooden bridge was built around 980 over the marsh. We took a walk beside the restored remnants. It was a relaxing walk in the wet grass. At the end there is a small exhibition about the excavation.

We continued windy roads to Jelling, where Gorm and maybe his wife Thyra were buried. First Gorm was buried in one of the two extremely large mounds, which are in the ends of the largest ship barrow in Denmark. In the middle was a church built (actually there had been three wooden churches before). Exactly in the middle was a three-sided rune stone, which apparently had Christian influence, both through the images and the way that the runes was written. They were written like the Latin language and not up and down. After a lunch at the museum, we looked at the exhibition. We had a lot of time before we had a guided tour around the church by the museum keeper called Hans. Unfortunately it started to rain heavily when we had climbed one of the mounds, so he continued the story inside the church.

The sun returned when we started the drive on the island Fyn on really small and windy roads, but with a lot of lovely half-timbered house. Most of the time did we see a beautiful rainbow, sometimes even two! We arrived at Svendborg Danhostel at 6:45 p.m. After throwing in the luggage in our rooms we ate dinner with a really great dessert. I was really stuffed up when we sat in the commune kitchen for a cup of coffee. We dropped dead in our beds already at 10 p.m., as we were very tired.

Sunday 9th of September
After a breakfast buffet we departed at 9 a.m. northwards to Gudme and the "kings halls". They have found remnants of quite a lot of large houses and trace of what probably was a gold smith, as well a lot of gold findings in the area. The place is dated to around 200 AC. During the 19th century lived there a Count Sehested, who was very interested in archaeology and collected around 72.000 pieces in a private museum at Broholm castle, among those a lot of gold. These have now been transferred to the museum of Fyn.

We passed the castle on the way to Lundeborg, where Mari guided us on the ancient marketplace, which is dated with the same age as Gudme. We took a walk back along the beach, although Christina and Mari took the vans instead. Several in the group found ceramics and flint pieces at the beach. Christina, Maj-Britt and I ate a salad at a cafe. Afterwards we made a walk in the harbour, where we saw a rat running. The walk was quickly done in this small village.

We continued after lunch in the drizzling to the "Dame stone", which is the largest loose stone block in Denmark. During the 19th century they thought it was fixed stone, when they started to dig around it. Of course (!) is there are story around it. The story tells about a witch who was angry on the sound of a church bell and throws the stone on the church, but missed it. There seems to often be a similar story around large stone blocks, even in Sweden.

We looked for a ceramics shop, which was specialised in cats, but unfortunately it was closed. The group voted to go to the island called Langeland, which is just South of Svendborg. We saw several dolmens along the road. In the south part of the island we stopped in Humble and after a while we found and walked to the King Humble's dolmen, which is situated in the middle of a field.

On the way back we stopped in Kaeldby for a cup of coffee and pancakes in the old station house. The railway was closed down 1962. The waiter was really friendly and talkative.

We returned to the hostel at 5:30 p.m. and had dinner at 6 p.m. It didn’t taste as good as the day before. Most of us joined for coffee in the kitchen and then Christina, Mari, Leif, Janis, Maj-Britt, Gunnel and I went out in the rain to go to a pub. We walked around in the centre for a while before we found one that was opened a Sunday evening. Janis got in contact with a group of Germans and Swiss guys, who joined us. We returned around 10 p.m. and joined Anna, Barbro, Evy and Örjan, who were sitting and talking in a room. We went to bed just before midnight after packing most of our stuff.

Monday 10th of September
We didn't get up of the beds before 8 a.m. when we had to pack the last stuff before breakfast. But we were in good time before departure at 9 a.m.

We went Northwards in the sun to Nyborg, where we crossed the bridge over Stora Bält to Själland. Near Slagelse we arrived to Trelleborgen. First we looked at the exhibition and Christina was particularly interested in a copy of the Viborg shirt, to which she bought a pattern. Then we went out and looked at a rebuilt copy of one of the long-houses. The old fortress is immense and you felt really small walking on the earth walls. The found houses was marked in the round fortress, which might have been used as a military training camp over 1000 years ago. There are 16 long-houses inside and another 15 was found outside, plus there is a burial ground outside, where they have found remnants from over 150 bodies.

At 12:45 p.m. we left to find a place to eat, as the cafe was closed today. We found a restaurant at a gas station by the highway. Lars hadn't visited the toilet and we had to make a quick turn off the road by a restaurant and we lost contact with the other van for a while. Thanks to the mobile telephones they soon got reassured that nothing had happened. In Helsingør we made a one hour stop so everybody had the chance to shop. We only bought a six-pack of white wine after taking a cup of coffee and a Danish pastry. We drove aboard the ferry just after 5 p.m. After the short ferry trip I took over the driving. We had a dinner stop by the road and the last stop in Lindome, where Leif and Janis live. Christina came over to our van and after the good bye hugs our van went to Partille to house of Örjan and Evy. Here the rest of us took farewell. Christina and I were at home 10:30 p.m. after a really great trip, although we were quite tired after a long day.

Carl-Gustaf Samuelsson
Christina Arrindell

 

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