Laser Tech Reveals 1,000-Year-Old Viking Ring Fortress in Denmark

The Trelleborg ring fortress
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Laser Tech Reveals 1,000-Year-Old Viking Ring Fortress in Denmark:

With the help of laser technology, archaeologist have managed to found a perfectly circular ring fortress in Borgring, Denmark. It dates back to 975-980 AD, and experts suggest that it was constructed during the reign of King Harald Bluetooth.

Archaeologists have discovered a Danish ring fortress in Borgring, Denmark, that dates back to AD 975-980 (ringed in red)

Archaeologists have discovered a Danish ring fortress in Borgring, Denmark, that dates back to AD 975-980 (ringed in red)

Borgring Fortress First to be Discovered in Denmark Since 1953

IBTimes UK reports that the impressive Borgring fortres is the first to be discovered in Denmark since 1953. What has amazed expert the most about this massive fortress is how it appears to be in a very precise circular shape, measuring almost 150 meter in diameter.

The building is one of the Trelleborg-type fortresses that have a characteristic circular shape and internal design. The earthwork, houses and other structure are carefully positioned within the fortress and 4 gates are positioned around the perimeter at cardinal points.

“The Borgring fortres had been tentatively identified in the 1970s, but the technology was lacking than to verify whether it really was a Trelleborg-type fortress,” study author Søren Michael Sindbæk of Aarhus University, told IBTimes UK. And continued, “That is the most beautiful aspect of our results – the suspicion that this could have been a fortres was raised by a very beautiful map made in 1970 that was the best survey method you had in those days. But it was impossible to prove it in those days.”

Airborne Laser Scanning Helps Archaeologists to Examine the Fortress 

With the help of advanced modern technology such as LiDAR – airborne laser scannings – Sindbæk and his colleagues managed to estimate significant difference at ground-level indicating the presence of the ring fortress as IBTimes UK reports.

Before its demolition, the Borgring fortres was created from wood with earth-and-turf ramparts. The fortres contained 2 streets with that intersected each other to form a cross shape. The streets were most likely paved with timber, with 4 vast wooden structures within the fortress.

The importance of the discovery consists of the fact that there have only been 5 confirmed Trelleborg fortresses discovered in Denmark until now.

They were all constructed in a short period of time between 975 and 980 AD, during the reign of Harald Bluetooth, a 10th century king who Christianized both Denmark and Norway.

Architectural Achievements of the Vikings

In 2014, archaeologist identified another impressive fortress through laser scan, which had been initially found in 1875  – a ring-shaped Viking fortress on the Danish island of Zealand – which historian suggested could have been used to train warriors before launching an invasion of England.

Even though the Vikings carry a reputation as brutish invaders, the latest finding show that they were also accomplished, builders.

Coincidentally, the research team that made that discovery in 2014, suggested that the fortress dated back to the reign of Harald Bluetooth as well.

Ring fortresses are circular, and can measure up to 250 metres in diameter. They are thought to have been made in an attempt to build a defensive network similar to that introduced by the Anglo Saxons. Pictured is a ring fortress discovered on the Danish island of Zealand

Ring fortresses are circular, and can measure up to 250 metres in diameter. They are thought to have been made in an attempt to build a defensive network similar to that introduced by the Anglo Saxons. Pictured is a ring fortress discovered on the Danish island of Zealand

Massive, Circular Constructions

The obvious similarity between all these building that were constructed during Harald Bluetooths reign is that they are all massive and circular constructions typically between 140 to 250 meters in diameter.

“They posed a real enigma about the Viking Age when they were 1ST discovered. The Viking were perceived to be a society of local petty kings competing over power,” Sindbæk tells IBTimes UK.  And adds, “They are related to a period of exceptional expression of kingship.

The question is whether that means we need a complete reassessment of Vikings society, or whether we should just be revisiting evidence from this particular period,” Sindbæk says, wondering how such vast and costly construction appeared in Denmark all of a sudden around the year 975.

Enemies Led to the Construction of the Buildings 

The fact that this large fortress were constructed within just 5 years makes Sindbæk speculate that the Viking were facing dangerous external enemies coming from the German and Slavic lands.

“If we look at the 970s and 980s, it’s exactly a time where every authority bordering on this empire is in a high state of emergency. There is a military power which is unprecedented and is not repeated again for several generations,” Sindbæk told IBTimes UK.

Interestingly, after the German emperor died in the 980s, the construction of massive and expensive building in Denmark stopped suddenly, a fact that appears to justify Sindbæks speculations, who closes his mini-interview by pointing out the historical value and importance of these fortresses by stating to IBTimes UK , “We have barely any other similar fortresses in Norway or Sweden, and in Denmark there are no other very large fortress of any kind. So they are very special. Because of the dates it seems that they coincide with a very unique military situation.”

Source: www.dailymail.co.uk


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Jessica Saraceni has been a part of Histecho Since 2018, drawn to the site for its quirky character and through Articles about the Mysteries of earth and human behavior. previously, she was an assistant editor and Research fellow at Archaeology magazine, where she gained an appreciation for the field work. A master's degree in biogeochemistry and environmental science from the Center for Archaeological Research, the University of Texas at San Antonio. She enjoys all forms of exercise; reading works by her favorite author, Haruki Murakami; and playing with her sons.