Arrived home safe last night from our fortnight in Denmark, only barely managing to avoid having our souls sucked by the two hour traffic jam approaching the Elb tunnel. During our wait we tried to decide which of the excursions we took was the most exciting and/or interesting. I’ve already posted about our thought-provoking trip to see the Tollund Man. Equally fascinating was a trip we took to see a Viking burial site in Denmark.

Ladbyskibet, the remains of a Viking chieftain’s burial ship situated in a burial mound that is open to the public, is a truly remarkable historical site.

From the website:

The Ladbyskibet viking chieftain burial site is located in Ladby, Denmark on the island of Funen, just West of the town of Kerteminde. The Ladbyskibet burial site is the only viking burial site in Denmark, and has helped give a more exact picture of what life – and death – was like around 950 AD, in the middle of the viking age.

The excavation itself shows the impression of the viking ship. The wood has disappeared, but the iron spikes and rings remain, as do the bones of the 11 horses and numerous dogs that were killed and put in the grave along with the chieftain, to give him a life in the next world as full of status and convenience as his life in this world had been.

The whole area around Ladby is known to have been a lively viking community in viking age. The Ladbyskibet viking chieftain grave was not the only grave at the location, but the biggest of all the graves. Worth noticing is the fact that the mound had been broken into a few decades later, and the viking chieftain remains had been severely mutilated. There is speculation that this was a demonstration of force by a later chieftain.

Being able to walk into the burial mound to view the remains of the ship is an impressive experience, with the excavated ship preserved behind glass. The sides of the enclosure are filled with detailed information, photographs and illustrations related to the ship in particular and the Viking culture in general. What we thought would be a brief visit was further extended with a walk through the museum building which houses an exhibit showing a life size version of the ship as it would have looked at the time of the burial. Even the walk from the museum to the burial mound is made part of the exhibit, for the kids at least, with the Viking carts provided.

I can’t recommend Denmark as a holiday destination highly enough and Ladbyskibet was one of many highpoints. As with the Tollund Man, if you’re over that way, go take a look.

As for writing, which is kind of supposed to be the subject of this blog, I was inspired into writing a short story that I have a short way to finish in first draft (though the ending is sitting in my noggin ready to slap on the screen at the earliest opportunity) and I also managed a third draft of a Thomas Hardy inspired short that has been sitting on my hardrive for a few months now. I also picked up a Viking History book from the Ladbyskibet giftshop so I might well end up doing a Wells Tower at some point and write a Viking inspired short story, who knows.

Hope your summer was as enjoyable as ours. Off now to get my head around exactly what needs to be done in prep for my MA. Kick off approaches.