Denmark

Category archives for Denmark

Work or Play? An Unusual Stone Object

Here’s a funny find. My buddy Tobias Bondesson sent me these pics of a gneiss or granite object he’s found, measuring 30 by 28 mm in diameter and 20 mm high. The find spot is near Lee church in northern Jutland (the current stone structure there goes back to shortly after AD 1100), and the…

Two Queenly Careers

Through my reading I was reminded of two Scandinavian early-12th century queens whose careers are pretty amazing. Though originally probably unrelated, they became kin by marriage in several ways. ~1085. Margareta Ingesdotter born, daughter of King Inge I of Sweden. (Birth year unrecorded.) ~1100. Ulvhild Håkonsdotter born, daughter of the Norwegian nobleman Håkon Finnsson of…

Three New Halls at Jelling

One of the most beloved novels in the Swedish language is Frans G. Bengtsson’s Viking story Röde Orm (1941), transl. Red Orm / The Long Ships (1943). And one of the most beloved scenes in the novel are the Yuletide celebrations at the court of King Harold Bluetooth at Jelling in Jutland toward the end…

Tom Christensen, who heads excavations at storied Lejre on Zealand, Denmark, has a paper about the lovely Lejre figurine in ROMU 2009 (full text on-line) and another one in the new issue of Skalk. Here he offers some well-chosen comparative material and presents his arguments for the figurine’s gender and identity. Everybody agrees that the…

Lukewarm Normative Scandy Atheism

Because of blogging and my involvement in the skeptical pro-science movement, in recent years I have come into close contact with Americans as never before in my adult life. More than half of Aard’s readers are in the US. It’s almost like when I met my wife and suddenly learned lots about China. A couple…

Recent Archaeomags

Skalk‘s February issue was not up to the Danish pop-arch journal’s usual excellent standard. I am always keen to read interesting news from Jelling and Lejre, the country’s proto-historic centres. But in this case the editors have devoted 17 of the issue’s 30 pages to articles about Harold Bluetooth’s Jelling despite the fact that nothing…

Beautiful Vendel Period Jewellery

I’m happy and relieved. A 73-page paper that I put a lot of work and travel into and submitted almost five years ago has finally been published. In his essays, Stephen Jay Gould often refers to his “technical work”, which largely concerns Cerion land snails and is most likely not read by very many people.…

Tripartite Names in Denmark and China

Danes often have tripartite names, like famous Roman Iron Age scholar Ulla Lund Hansen or NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. And I’ve been wondering how these names are inherited. Specifically, which names get dropped and which ones get passed on to the kids. So I wrote my erudite buddy, osteologist Helene Agerskov Madsen, and…

The Lejre Freya Miniature

Apparently the Lejre excavators still haven’t realised that the lovely silver miniature they found depicts an aristocratic woman who can’t be Odin, regardless of who may be the owner of the throne she sits on. A Danish news site contacted me today and asked me about the issue. Here’s what I said (and I translate).…

Odin from Lejre? No, it’s Freya!

So you’re a metal detectorist and you find a silver figurine at storied Lejre in Denmark. It depicts a person sitting in a high seat whose posts end in two wolves’ heads. And on either arm rest sits a raven. The style is typical for about AD 900. So when you hand the thing over…