Germanic Iron Age

History of Denmark between 401 AD - 792 AD

Germanic Iron Age is the name modern scholars give to the period 400–800 in Northern Europe, and is part of the continental Age of Migrations. The Germanic Iron Age begins with the fall of the Roman empire and the rise of the Celtic and Germanic kingdoms in Western Europe. During the decline of the Roman empire, an abundance of gold flowed into Scandinavia; there are excellent works in gold from this period. Gold was used to make scabbard mountings and bracteates.

After the Roman empire fell, gold became scarce and Scandinavians began to make objects of gilded bronze, with decorative figures of interlacing animals. In the early phase, the decorations tended to be representational—the animal figures are rather faithful anatomically Later they tended to be more abstract or symbolic—intricate interlaced shapes and limbs like those characteristic of the Viking Age that followed.

Some of the best-known remains from the period in Denmark include the "peat bog corpses", among them the well-preserved bodies of two people deliberately strangled: Tollund Man and Haraldskær Woman. You can also visit Scandinavia’s largest centre of wealth at Gudme, where hoards of gold treasure totalling 10 kg have been found.

References: Wikipedia, National Museum of Denmark

Popular sites founded between 401 AD and 792 AD in Denmark

Gamleborg Viking Fortress

Gamleborg, also known as Gamleborg Viking Fortress, was the first fortress on the Danish island of Bornholm. Built around 750 AD, it was the seat of the kings of Bornholm during the Viking age (750–1050) and early Middle Ages (1050–1150). The massive fortress is 264 metres long from north to south and 110 metres wide from east to west, with gates to the north and southwest. Around 1100, significant alterations ...
Founded: 750 AD | Location: Bornholm, Denmark

Lejre

Lejre was the capital of an Iron Age kingdom sometimes referred to as the Lejre Kingdom. According to early legends, this was ruled by kings of the Skjöldung dynasty, predecessors of the kings of medieval Denmark. Legends of the kings of Lejre are known from a number of medieval sources, including the twelfth-century Gesta Danorum written by Saxo Grammaticus and the anonymous twelfth-century Chronicon Lethrense, or Chron ...
Founded: 550 - 1000 AD | Location: Lejre, Denmark

Kallerup Runestone

The Kallerup Stone was discovered in 1827 by a stonemason in a field with several stone circles near a church in Hedehusene. It was then restored in 1851 by raising it near its original position. This granite runestone, which is 1.6 meters in height, is among the oldest in Denmark and is believed to date from about 700 to 800 AD. The elder futhark inscription is somewhat unusual in that it uses text bands, the inscribed l ...
Founded: 700-800 AD | Location: Hedehusene, Denmark

Vildtbane Runestone

Vildtbane runestone is an important landmark and historical monument. It is located by a dammed stream that has formed a man-made boundary since the eighth century A.D. The upright monolith marks the boundary of the King’s exclusive rights to hunt. The stone dates from 1775, when the King’s hunting grounds were still extensive.
Founded: c. 730 AD | Location: Jyllinge, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kisimul Castle

Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.

Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.

The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.