Saturday, September 18, 2010

Trelleborg - Near Slagelse. Ring Fortress. Viking

Trelleborg - Ring Fortress from the Viking Age
Slagelse, DK

This is still on Zealand, the large Danish island where Copenhagen is located. It is on the west coastal area. First, see a model of what the circular fort area could have looked like, with the protected area elevated, and surrounding grouped longhouses. Find longer descriptions at area dates from 980 or so AD.  They used the dating method of analyzing rings on wood found there.

The longhouses are bigger than expected. A central smoke hole in a curved roof beam kept air circulating, some. This size could have accommodated some 35-50 people. See video at

That site ties in the construction with the conversion of Harald Bluetooth, a matter not agreed at
Harald and his predecessors had been under political and military pressure from the German side, Otto, and did not on their own see the "merit" of the new religion from the south.

Find a series of photos and other sites at  If you arrive here late, and the visitor center is closed, you still have access to the grounds.

Were the people small in stature, or was this small door for warmth and protection, much as castles had some very little doors leading to passageways and little staircases for escape. A fully armed and armored fighter could not enter.

In The Vikings, A History, by Robert Ferguson, Penguin Group 2009 at page 10 notes the examination of a Viking-Age man in a grave mound (the buried Tune Ship) in Norway.  There were thigh bones thirty percent heavier than those of modern men, perhaps from extensive horseback riding.  There was also evidence of a pituitary tumor, however, that could have resulted in some gigantism.

How much is really known about the culture, and how do we know it.  I am still reading The Vikings, and am surprised at how late it was before an era of Vikings was seriously identified -- the 19th Century.  Issues of how to weigh the old sagas, and how much did the recorders of the sagas, acting centuries later, press their own families' agendas in them.  Like now. Text criticism applies to any ancient and modern material.

The circular fortresses of Vikings are known as trelleborgs.  There are several of them in Denmark and Sweden.

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