Monuments with Outstanding Biographies in the Heart of Denmark
On 16 April AD 2000 the 60th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark was celebrated. To mark this particular day seventeen new tapestries were placed in Christiansborg Palace, in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. The tapestries depict the history of the Danish monarchy throughout 1,000 years. In the middle of the banqueting hall hangs the first and one of the largest tapestries about the Viking period. Here the history of King Gorm’s lineage begins: King Gorm the Old, his Queen Thyre, their son Harald Bluetooth, his son Svein, and Svein’s son Canute the Great, who ended up ruling over the whole of Denmark and England. Above the heads of the kings, ‘paganism’ fights against Christianity (Hornum 2000, 85). The most stately and noble monument in the history of Denmark are the Jelling Monuments. The Jelling Monuments stand as a key site in the archaeological and historical explanation of the political and religious transformations of the Scandinavian world at the end of the Viking Period. The site consists of the two largest burial mounds in Denmark, two runic stones dating from the Viking Period, and the church situated between the burial mounds. Since 2005, new excavations have expanded the monument area with the discovery of a huge stone setting depicting the outline of a ship measuring almost 360 metres in length, and a four-sided wooden palisade, which once encircled an area of approximately 12.5 hectares. The Northern Mound with a burial chamber is the centre for both the stone-ship and the entire expanse of the newly discovered palisade. Archaeological investigations in Jelling began as early as AD 1586, when Caspar Markdanner, King Frederik II’s lord lieutenant at Koldinghus Castle, raised one of the two rune-stones known at the site to an upright position so that its honour and dignity would be restored. In 1591 the lord lieutenant had an etching made of the entire site, and in 1643 Ole Worm drew up the first description of the monuments.
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