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Does the whole of the North Mound at Jelling date to the Viking Age?

By Anne Pedersen

Only three of the Many Mounds survive today. Photo: Charlotta Lindblom.

In the last two weeks of August boreholes will once again be undertaken at Jelling, but  this time into three of the protected mounds of the group known as the Many Mounds, north of the Viking Age palisade structure. The boreholes will be made by Professor Henrik Breuning-Madsen and two students from the Department of Geography and Geology at the University of Copenhagen; the National Museum’s department of Danish Prehistory/Natural Sciences will participate in the analysis.
The main purpose of the boreholes is to investigate whether the turfs and soil in any of the Many Mounds is of the same date as the soil in the North Mound, also known as Thyra’s Mound. In this way we can hopefully establish whether the North Mound was constructed in the Viking period or whether its core is a mound from the Bronze Age, a theory which has been put forward before. Furthermore the boreholes will show whether the Many Mounds are constructed from the same material as the Jelling mounds and whether the conditions of preservation in these mounds are as good as in the Jelling mounds. If this is the case then we can obtain greater knowledge about the vegetation and utilisation of the land earlier in the prehistoric period, to enable comparison with the information we have about the landscape in the Viking Age.   
Between 3 and 5 boreholes will be drilled into each of the three Many Mounds. The boreholes will use the same method as those made into the Jelling mounds last year. The manual use of a 7 cm diameter auger will, as far as possible, limit damage to the mounds. The borehole samples will be described using the same system to allow immediate comparison between the results from the Many Mounds and the Jelling mounds, and samples will be taken for analysis.
August 17 2010

The Many Mounds north of Jelling as they looked in 1875. J. Magnus-Petersen.
The Many Mounds, the two most easterly mounds in 2008. Photo: Charlotta Lindblom.