1,000 year old silver treasure hoard discovered in Denmark

Coins discovered on the Danish island of Omø - photo courtesy Museum Vestsjælland

Over 550 silver items have been discovered on the Danish island of Omø. The hoard is believed to date from around the reign of Sweyn Forkbeard (986–1014) and includes coins and pieces of jewellery.

How to destroy gods

Bishop Absalon topples the god Svantevit at Arkona - created by Laurits Tuxen (1853–1927)

In the year 1168 a Danish bishop destroyed three pagan gods. The story is told in Gesta Danorum, by Saxo Grammaticus, which has recently been entirely translated into English for the first time.

Ragnar Lothbrok and the Semi-Legendary History of Denmark

Ragnar meets Aslaug, as depicted by August Malmström (1829–1901)

An investigation into the historical models for the legendary/literary figure Ragnar Lothbrok, including discussion of semi-legendary Danish history from the early sixth to late ninth centuries. Presents an argument for a female model, Lothbroka.

Scandinavian trade ‘triggered’ the Viking Age, researchers find

Ribe, Denmark in 1588

Archaeologists from the University of York have played a key role in Anglo-Danish research which has suggested the dawn of the Viking Age may have been much earlier – and less violent – than previously believed.

13th-century Rune Stick discovered in Denmark

13th century runestick - photo courtesy Odense City Museums

Archaeologists working in the Danish city of Odense have discovered a rune stick with Latin writing dating to the early 13th century.

The Medieval Saints of Sweden and Denmark

Parchment fragment of a medieval church book. Photo: Sara Ellis Nilsson/University of Gothenburg.

There is a clear link between the celebration of native saints and the ecclesiastical organisation that emerged in Scandinavia in the 12th century. Yet, according to a new doctoral thesis in history from the University of Gothenburg, important differences can be noted between Sweden and Denmark.

The oldest Onion in Denmark

onion in Denmark - photo courtesy National Museum of Denmark

A 1300-year-old onion has been discovered as part of a woman’s grave in Denmark.

The (Attempted) Alliance of Alfonso VIII of Castile and Valdemar II of Denmark: the Infante Fernando’s Marriage Reconsidered

King Alfonso VIII 'the Noble' of Castile

This paper presents the evidence for a lost marriage alliance between Castile and Denmark, contextualizes the marriage within the larger framework of Alfonso VIII’s international relations, and finally, demonstrates that the match can help to underscore the importance of crusading lineages in the affairs of the Castilian royal family.

The Danes and the Marriage Break-up of Philip II of France

Philip Augustus

On 14 August 1193 the illustrious king Philip II of France repudiated his queen, Ingeborg, the daughter of the Danish king Valdemar I, during her coronation ceremony in Amiens cathedral. The events that followed, which merited twenty-four papal letters and the comment and speculation of several chroniclers across Europe.

Viking Fortress discovered in Denmark

Ground plan of the Fyrkat Viking fortress placed on top of the Vallø ringed fortress. The red lines show the outline of the Vallø excavation © Danish Castle Centre

Archaeologists from The Danish Castle Centre and Aarhus University have made a sensational discovery south of Copenhagen, Denmark. On fields at Vallø Estate, near Køge, they have discovered traces of a massive Viking fortress built with heavy timbers and earthen embankments. The perfectly circular fortress is similar to the famous so-called ‘Trelleborg’ fortresses, which were built by King Harald Bluetooth around AD 980.

The Danish Conquest: 1000 Years

13th century depiction of Svein Forkbeard

1013-1014 sees the 1000th anniversary of a successful invasion of England – and not many people seem to have noticed.

Saints’ Cults in Medieval Livonia

Medieval Saints

Saints’ cults played a crucial role in medieval society. Although we know very little about the beliefs and rituals of the indigenous peoples of Livonia, either before or after the thirteenth-century conquest, we may assume that the process of Christianization must have caused major changes in their religious practices.

Death as an architect of societies Burial and social identity during the Viking Age in South-western Scania

Viking age burial - Ribe, Denmark

In my opinion, the mono-cultural Viking Age is largely the product of one past social group, that had imposed on us their narration about the events, through production of tangible and durable monuments and sources. If analysis of the past should be of any value, it needs to be not only specifically spatially located, but also socially located.

Making Sacrifices: Beowulf and Film

The Thirteenth Warrior

This essay reviews opening scenes in some recent film Beowulfs, which, although they have nothing at all to say about Scyld Scefing, suggest a sacrificial reading of the prologue and perhaps even the whole poem.

Medieval Letter-Collections as a Mirror of Circles of Friendship? The Example of Stephen of Tournai, 1128-1203

Roman Catholic Diocese of Tournai

We are well informed on the life of Stephen of Tournai and some of his work (97). Born in 1128, he grew up in the chapter of Sainte-Croix in Orléans, where he was educated in the artes liberales.

How Nordic are the old Nordic Laws?

Carta Marina

Medieval legislation plays a peculiar and very important role in Nordic legal history.

Gesta Danorum and the Wendish Crusade

wendish crusade map

The Wendish Crusade from 1147 marks the beginning of ‘Holy Wars’ fought against the Balto-Slavic and Finno-Ugric populations from the Baltic See.

Auðun of the West Fjords and the Saga Tradition: Similarities of Theme and Structural Suitability

Iceland - West Fjords

This paper evaluates the story of Auðun from the West Fjords, a þáttr dating from the Sturlunga period of medieval Iceland. It compares the short prose narrative to the much longer sagas in terms of their mutual concerns with kings, peace, and the place of Iceland in a larger Christian world.

The Royal Residence at Tissø in the Viking Age


A 3D animation film visualizing the royal complex at the time around 900 AD.

Reconsidering Agatha, Wife of Eadward the Exile

Edward the Exile/Edward Aetheling

The antecedents of Agatha, wife of Eadward the Exile and ancestress of Scottish and English monarchs since the twelfth century and their countless descendants in Europe and America, have been the subject of much dispute…

Archaeologists explore Hammershus Castle

Hammershus castle

A team of Polish and Danish archaeologists have discovered over 200 artefacts from the 13-century castle of Hammershus.

Auðun of the West-Fjords and the Saga Tradition: Similarities of Theme and Structural Suitability

Medieval Iceland

Auðun of the West-Fjords and the Saga Tradition: Similarities of Theme and Structural Suitability Josie Nolan (Trinity College Dublin) Vexillum, Vol.3 (2013) Abstract This paper evaluates the story of Auðun from the West Fjords, a Þáttr dating from the Sturlinga period of medieval Iceland. It compares the short prose narrative to the much longer sagas […]

Danish Penal Law in the Middle Ages: Cases of Homicide and Woundings

Danish Penal Law in the Middle Ages: Cases of Homicide and Woundings

In the provincial laws, a killing was not simply a killing. The penalty imposed on the killer depended on the conditions under which the killing had taken place.

Feasting with Early Medieval Chiefs: Locating Political Action through Environmental Archaeology

Hrisbru excavation site

This excellent paper was the first given in the session on Early Medieval Europe. It looked at various archaeological excavations in Iceland and Denmark and the political role feasting played in pre-Christian Viking societies.

Louis the Pious and the Conversion of the Danes


This paper was part of a very interesting session on the Early Middle Ages. The papers covered Eastern European Infant Burial, the archaeology of medieval feasting and conversion. This paper contrasted the conversion policies of Charlemagne versus those of Louis the Pious.

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