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The third corner – new investigations

By Steen Wulff Andersen

The search for the third corner of Jelling’s large Viking palisade began on July 28 at Smededammen. The archaeologists working on the excavation are very much aware that the investigations are taking place in a built-up area. There is limited space to move around in and the soil layers are often disturbed by the roots of large trees and relatively recent excavations, for cellars, for example. The first attempt to find the corner did not meet with success.

The first attempt to find the palisade’s south-eastern corner was unsuccessful. Instead a recent foundation was discovered, which can be seen as a light-coloured strip in the ground. Photo: Vejle Museum.

On Monday August 2 a fresh attempt was made to find the enclosure’s foundation trench in the area of the south-eastern corner, but this was also fruitless. The search was not proving as easy as locating the north-east corner had been. Instead efforts were now concentrated on searching for sections of the palisade’s foundation trench as close to the corner as possible. This met with success in a small area on one of the teacher-training college’s parking places, south-east of Smededammen. Here a small section of “the East Palisade” appeared. However, a similar investigation on that Monday of the most easterly part of “the South Palisade”, clearly visible at Gorms Torv, failed to produce a positive result.


Now we are on the right track!
The last piece of the jigsaw fell into place on Wednesday August 4, when on the second attempt the archaeologists found a small section of the palisade between the trees, just south of Smededammen. The actual corner of the palisade’s foundation trench has not been located, but the trench has been found immediately north and west of this, so that the corner’s position can be determined with great certainty. The area had already been exposed on Monday August 2, but the many tree roots had made work more difficult. It was only when the excavation was extended down by c.20 cm, that the palisade trench became visible. With its three corners and straight sides determined, researchers now have a much better opportunity to establish how the whole palisade structure was laid out by its builders.

This phase of the search for the palisade continues until the middle of August.

Would you like to see more pictures?

There are more pictures from the excavation on Vejle Museum's website