Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Denmark

Jelling Runestones

The Jelling stones are massive carved runestones from the 10th century, found at the town of Jelling in Denmark. The older of the two Jelling stones was raised by King Gorm the Old in memory of his wife Thyra. The larger of the two stones was raised by King Gorm's son, Harald Bluetooth in memory of his parents, celebrating his conquest of Denmark and Norway, and his conversion of the Danes to Christianity. The runic inscr ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Jelling, Denmark

Fyrkat

Fyrkat might be the oldest of Denmark"s former Viking ring castles. It is built on a narrow piece of land with a river on one side and swampy area on the others. It could have controlled the traffic on the main land route between Alborg and Aarhus. Like the other forts at Aggersborg or Trelleborg near Slagelse it is designed as exact circle with four gates opposite to each other and connected by two wooden roads that ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Hobro, Denmark

Nonnebakken

Nonnebakken (literally, "Nun Hill") is the site of one of Denmark's six former Viking ring castles, built during the reign of Sweyn Forkbeard, who had forced his father Harold Bluetooth to leave the country and seek refuge by the Jomsvikingson Wollin (modern Poland) around 975. The fort enabled its occupier command of the Odense River passing next to the hill. The name refers to the Benedictine Nunnery located on the site ...
Founded: 975 AD | Location: Odense, Denmark

Poskaer Stenhus

Poskær Stenhus is Denmark's largest round barrow, dating from the age of Funnelbeaker culture (around 3300 BC). The best view of this monument is from the north approach by the road through the hills of Mols Bjerge. The burial chamber has a diameter of more than 2 metres and a ceiling height of almost 1.8 metres. The chamber is surrounded by 23 kerb stones, some of which are more than 2.5 metres high. In 1859, the owner, ...
Founded: 3300 BC | Location: Knebel, Denmark

Trelleborg

The Trelleborg near Slagelse is one of the five of six Viking ring castles in Denmark. Similar to the other Viking ring castles found so far, the Trelleborg at Slagelse was designed as an exact circle with two roads that crossed at right angles in the geometric center and led to the four gates with two always opposite to each other. In each of the four quarters stood four almost identical longhouses arranged in a square. ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Slagelse, Denmark

Grønsalen

Grønsalen or Grønjægers Høj is about 100 metres long and 10 metres wide, which makes it Denmark"s largest long barrow and is widely recognised as one of Europe"s outstanding ancient monuments. The barrow, rising over a metre above the surrounding area, is encircled by 134 large stones. The grave, at the centre, is covered with earth and contains three burial chambers, two of which are ...
Founded: 3500 BC | Location: Askeby, Denmark

Troldkirken

Troldkirken is a Stone Age megalith (dolmen) with a polygonal chambered mound covered by a capstone and surrounded by forty-eight large stones. The whole monument is some 90 metres long. The name means Church of the Troll in Danish.
Founded: 3500-2800 BC | Location: Nibe, Denmark

Aggersborg

Aggersborg is the largest of Denmark's former Viking ring castles, and one of the largest archeological sites in Denmark. It consisted of a circular rampart surrounded by a ditch. Four main roads arranged in a cross connected the castle centre with the outer ring. The roads were tunnelled under the outer rampart, leaving the circular structure intact. The ring castle had an inner diameter of 240 metres. The ditch was loc ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Logstor, Denmark

Gudme

In the Late Roman Iron Age numerous farms made up a settlement near Gudme in the south-east of Funen. In the undulating landscape near Gudme lake, around 5 km from the Great Belt coast, Gudme’s heyday began in the 3rd century AD. This is a time in which the Roman Empire’s expansion and connections to the north are clearly reflected by the many finds from the area. The settlement reached its maximum size in the ...
Founded: 200 AD | Location: Gudme, Denmark

Louisenlund Megaliths

Louisenlund is a site with one of Denmark's largest collection of megaliths. Some 50 stones standing upright among the trees, many of them over 2.5 metres high. The megaliths, which bear no inscription, stand on low mounds or over graves where the remains of burnt bones are buried. In the early Bronze Age and late Iron Age (1100 BC), it appears to have been common practice to set megaliths over graves of this kind. The st ...
Founded: c. 1100 BC | Location: Østermarie, 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

Rispebjerg

Risbebjerg is an archeological site containing both the remains of a Neolithic sun temple and Iron Age earthworks. Bordered by the Øleådalen valley, the site is marked by Iron Age earthworks consisting of semicircular ramparts 3 metres high and a dry ditch 2 metres deep, dating back some 2,000 years. There are also remains of a number of 5,000-year-old woodhenges, one of which has been recreated with stumps o ...
Founded: 3000 BC | Location: Neksø, 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

Troldborg Ring

Troldborg Ring is a circular stronghold located on a hill crest, 70 meters above the Vejle river valley. It was surrounded by a rampart, which was 60 meters in diameter. The castle was built in the Iron Age, around 100-200 AD, and was used until the 5th century AD.
Founded: 100-200 AD | Location: Bredsten, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.