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Plank next to plank – New discoveries from Jelling!

By Steen Wulff Andersen

One of the aims of the summer’s archaeological activity in Jelling is to produce more detailed information about the course of the large palisade enclosure and how it was constructed. With regard to the latter of these, the investigation of 31 metres of the southern side of the enclosure at Gorms Torv has been especially fruitful. Here the timber that had been dug into the ground was supported by stone packing in some places. In addition, on Thursday June 22 clear traces of the pieces of timber that formed the basis of the palisade were uncovered for the first time.


The traces of timbers show that the palisade consisted of heavy vertical planks, which apparently stood so close together that they almost formed a wall. The timber was of variable size, but it is thought that very well-made planks were used, of which the largest measures c.30 x 15 cm in cross-section. We can only guess the height of the palisade, but as the timber was dug over 1 metre down into the ground, it was unlikely to have been under 2 metres, and was probably above this. 

The investigations of the palisade at Gorms Torv finished on June 24. Traces of more planks appeared, but these were not as clear as those shown in the photographs. In the last days we focused upon the posts that flanked the planks of the palisade at regular intervals. Previously we believed that these may have been sloping supporting posts, but no evidence has come from any of the investigations to add weight to this argument. Instead it looks as though the side posts stood vertically. This can be explained by various interpretations. One of them is that the side posts and the palisade planks were connected to transverse timbers at a higher level, perhaps forming a type of platform?


The investigations of the palisade fence continue from the middle of week 29 with the search for the north-western corner. After that we will try and locate the south-eastern corner.


June 28 2010