New Viking Age Ring-Shaped Fortress Discovered In Denmark

In August 2017, a group of archaeologists used laser technology to locate a well-shaped, circular ring fortification that dates back to the time of King Harald Bluetooth on the island of Zealand, Denmark. This is the first round citadel of its kind to be discovered on Danish soil since the mid 20th century onwards.

Danish description: Borgring ved Lellinge har meter høje skråninger og en usædvanlig, lang fordybning, der skærer sig vej gennem terrænet. Credits: source: Wikimedia Commons

Several researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark made of use Lidar (which can be broken down into ‘light detection and ranging‘) surveying method to map the location of this trelleborg (as these wooden circular forts are called in Danish).

The ring fort as seen from above (using satellite imagery provided by Google). Image source: Google Maps

This historical landmark has been dated c. 975–980 (which corresponds to the timeline during which King Harald Bluetooth ruled over early medieval Denmark) and is located just southwest of the capital city of Copenhagen, on Sjælland, near the seaport of Køge, in the village of Højelse, to the north of Lellinge.

The trelleborg in question is called Borgring (literally meaning ‘ring fort’) and was determined to have an approximate total diameter of 145 meters. The remains of some timber constructions were also unearthed by the researchers from Aarhus University who collaborated with the University of York in England in order to trace the roots of this early medieval stronghold.

Elevated view of the ring fort (as seen from satellite in September 2014). Danish description: Billedet er en grafisk efterbearbejdning af et satellitfoto med hillshade. Pilen peger mod ringvolden, der fremstår som en tydelig cirkel i landskabet. Credits: source: Wikimedia Commons

The researchers pointed out that Borgring is actually part of a network of similar fortifications erected roughly one thousand years ago at the will of the Danish monarch who is widely credited for uniting Denmark, namely Harald Bluetooth.

A lot of resources were integrated into their construction, with some of their most notable goals being trade and regional defence as well as, ultimately, fulfilling the task of military outposts for the army of Norsemen who invaded England at the round of the 11th century.

In the end, this new research sheds even more light on the roles, structures, and architecture of this sort of Viking Age monuments that proved pivotal to enriching King Harald Bluetooth’s fame and reputation as an imposing historical figure of the early Middle Ages.

You can additionally take a closer look at this short Google Earth tour of three other Viking Age circular fortresses, namely Fyrkat, Aggersborg, and Trelleborg:

Documentation sources and external links:

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