Iron Age secrets uncovered in Denmark



3 October 2009


With the summertime crowds dispersed and the landscape bathed in the season’s last warm rays, autumn is the perfect time to visit northern Denmark. In particular, Aalborg (the country’s northernmost city) makes a wonderful base for a relaxed break at this time of year.

In addition to the city’s quaint cobbled streets, sensational shopping and vibrant nightlife, the surrounding countryside contains some surprising discoveries from the less peaceful times of long ago.

At the Lindholm Heights Museum, which opened just last year, archaeologists have solved the mystery of an Iron Age tragedy that unfolded here around 2,000 years ago. Working alongside fire technicians and forensic scientists like a kind of “Iron Age C.S.I”, the team have established exactly how a total of 14 people and their livestock lost their lives in a devastating house-fire that took place at Nørre Tranders, just outside Aalborg.

Following the site’s discovery in 2000/2001, the team painstakingly sifted through the charred bones and broken pottery found among the building’s foundations and found enough evidence to establish if the tragedy was the result of accident or arson. The outcome of their investigations is revealed in a new exhibition at Lindholm Heights, alongside other displays explaining how local people actually lived during the Iron Age and Viking periods.

Lindholm Heights’ flagship attraction, however, is its Viking burial ground, where over 700 graves (dating back to at least 1000AD) have been unearthed. The site is considered to be one of Scandinavia’s most impressive ancient monuments and contains many stone circles to mark the actual burial sites. Another popular attraction at the Museum is the 3D animated installation that provides visitors with a taste of what life was like aboard a Viking ship as it sailed down the nearby Limfjord.

Aalborg also acts as a gateway to northern Denmark’s mile upon mile of unspoiled, sandy coastline, where great swathes of glorious beach stand empty, without even a footprint, at this time of year. There are cycle trails through meadows and forests to discover and further afield lies the artists’ colony at Skagen, at Denmark’s far north-easterly tip, where the Skagen Museum houses a wonderful collection of more than 1,800 works of art.

With such a wonderful choice of man-made and natural attractions to discover this autumn, Aalborg offers a world of possibilities – whatever the weather.

Getting to Denmark from the UK has never been easier. Norwegian (norwegian.com/en) flies direct from London Gatwick to Aalborg each day. Alternatively, DFDS Seaways (dfds.co.uk) sails from Harwich to Esbjerg, while Ryanair (ryanair.com) flies to various Danish gateways from several UK airports.

For more information on Aalborg go to: visitaalborg.com

For more information on Denmark including the latest offers go to: visitdenmark.com


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