Lindholm Høje (Lindholm Hills) is a major Viking burial site and former settlement situated to the north of and overlooking the city of Aalborg. The southern (lower) part of Lindholm Høje dates to 1000 – 1050 AD, the Viking Age, while the northern (higher) part is significantly earlier, dating back to the 5th century AD. An unknown number of rocks were removed from the site over the centuries, many, for example, being broken up in the 19th century for use in building roads. The Viking Age part of the burial ground suffered more from this than the earlier part. The first major archaeological excavation, which ultimately encompassed 589 of the approximately 700 graves, began in 1952, although excavations had been conducted as early as 1889.
Remains of villages have been found. The settlement is at an important crossing over the Limfjord, a stretch of water which divides what is now Jutland. During the Viking period, it was only possible to make the crossing at this point or much further along the fjord at Aggersund, because of the swamps which then edged the fjord on either side.
The settlement was abandoned in approximately 1200 AD, probably due to sand drifting from the western coast, which was a consequence of extensive deforestation and the exposed sand then being blown inland by the rough westerly winds. The sand which covered the site served to protect it in large part over the intervening centuries.
Because of its location and transportation links, the settlement was obviously a significant centre for trade at the time, and this is borne out by glassware, gems and Arab coins found at the site. An 11th century silver Urnes style brooch found in one grave is the model for bronze copies that were being cast in a Lund jeweler's workshop in the early 12th century.
The majority of the burials discovered were cremations, although a number of inhumations were also discovered, and it appeared that the tendency towards cremation or burial depended upon the period, cremation supplanting inhumation in the Viking Age. The pre-Viking Age burials were under mounds. Of the later graves, some women's graves appear to be distinguished by placement of rocks in a circle or oval, but most of the graves are marked with rocks either in a triangle or in the traditional shape of a boat (stone ship), indicating the importance that the Vikings placed upon water. The ship settings constitute the largest assemblage of well preserved examples extant. The shape and size of the grave outline apparently indicate the status of the person – all of which is reminiscent of the ship burials of the Anglo-Saxons, Norwegian and Swedish Vikings and other ancient Germanic societies.
A museum adjacent to the site donated by Aalborg Portland A/S cement company to commemorate their centennial was opened in 1992. In 2008 the museum was enlarged, and a new exhibition of pre-history in the area of the Limfjord opened.References:
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).