History of Denmark between 5000 BC - 1701 BC
Even before the Neolithic period hunting people in Denmark had long had contact with the farming societies in central Europe, but only around 3900 BC the hunters began to till the land and keep animals. Wooded areas were cleared, burnt and replaced with fields of arable crops. Cattle, pigs and sheep appeared as domesticated animals. The big change was that people could produce their own food products. Coastal fishing was still good and therefore the farming population continued for a long time to hunt and fish from the old settlements on the coast.
The farmers’ grave monuments in the form of dolmens and passage graves were constructed all over Denmark. They can be seen still in many places in the Danish landscape. Here you can see the splendid polished flint axes and large collections of amber beads which were offered to the gods in hope of a good harvest. You can also see how the Skarpsalling Pot – Denmark’s most attractive pottery vessel from the Neolithic period – is decorated. Or you can learn more about how daggers, such the one from Hindsgavl, and other flint tools were produced.
Reference: National Museum of Denmark
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).