Early Medieval Farming Village Unearthed Near Famed Viking Site

By Tom Metcalfe

Archaeologists in Denmark have unearthed the remains of a 1,500-year-old farming village near the famed Viking site of Jelling in central Jutland.

The excavated village contains traces of up to 400 farm buildings, including several longhouses that would have each formed the center of a family farm.

Based on the distinctive shapes of the buildings, researchers have dated the remains to between A.D. 300 to 600 — a time known as the early medieval period in Europe, during the Germanic Iron Age in Denmark.

“The carbon-14 dates will come later,” said Katrine Balsgaard Juul, an archaeologist and curator with the Vejle Museums in southern Denmark, who led excavations at the site from October 2016 until this October. “We’ve taken soil samples from all the main houses, but they are still being processed.” (Dating sediments using the carbon-14 isotope can offer more precise ages, the researchers noted.)

“But in Denmark we have a very long tradition of excavating early medieval settlements, so we are quite confident with the dates, even without the carbon-14 dating,” she said.

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