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Discovery of rare cult place for Odin is in a class by itself

In 2018, archaeologists in West Jutland found a place of worship for Odin, which tops the list of this year's archaeological finds.

For the first time, archaeologists have excavated a place of worship in Denmark - or a "rare pre-Christian shrine", dedicated to the Nordic god Odin. This happened when the remains of a house from around 150-450 AD were found and excavated in the past year. Kr. at Stavsager Høj near Fæsted outside Ribe.

With the help of enthusiasts with metal detectors, the Museum at Sønderskov in Brørup found about 50 lance or spearheads that had been stuck into the ground around two pillars at the entrance.

Two bent swords encircled another post, and hidden under other posts, small pieces of gold were discovered.

- There is so much nonsense in the whole composition of the find that it does not seem logical at all. It can only be cultic, explains Anne Nørgård Jørgensen, archaeologist and special consultant at the Palaces and Culture Agency.

We do not have any cult buildings in Denmark like the one now found in West Jutland. It is a very strange time in the history of Denmark, where this religion has gradually come into being with the Odin cult, she says.

In Uppåkra near Lund in Sweden, similar cult buildings have been found, just as there is supposed to be one on Bornholm. Also on Zealand, exceptional finds were made in 2018 - with threads all the way to the Black Sea.

In Vindinge southeast of Roskilde, ROMU (formerly Roskilde Museum) secretly excavated a large number of tombs from the Roman Iron Age - 92 in total, spread over two sites - just 500 meters from where 130 tombs have previously been found. This happened in connection with the subdivision of land for new homes.

Some of the graves were richly equipped, says archaeologist and chief inspector Ole Kastholm from ROMU.

The extraordinary thing is that in such a small field we find so many roughly simultaneous burial sites - over 200. This tells us that quite a few people have lived here during the period the burial sites are from, he says.

Many of the tombs contained exotic glass, pearls, decorated pottery, costume jewelry, or gold rings. Archaeologists, for example, found a rare glass cup that probably came from the Black Sea. And in the mouth of a buried person, a piece of gold was found, which archaeologists interpret as a Nordic charon coin. The custom originates from Greece, where the dead got a coin to pay the ferryman Charon for the last voyage to the realm of the dead.

- And then we have found extremely many pearls, up to 400-500 in a single grave. We must have taken a closer look at them to see where they come from, says Ole Kastholm.

“It is a very large ornamented necklace in gold that has been broken, and in addition we have small pieces of gold. But it is actually the weapons that have surprised us. A very large number of weapons have been found, and it is very rare, "says museum inspector Lars Grundvad from the Museum at Sønderskov.

/ ritzau /

Photos: Conservation center vejle.

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