Vikings, Again

There are four Viking ring forts in Denmark, all thought to have been built around 980 A.D. by King Harald Bluetooth, son of the King Gorm, the first recognized king of Denmark.

The Viking ring forts shared a common design, all built as perfect circles with wooden gates at the four points, allowing for the interior to be divided by plank roads into four quadrants, each containing four longhouses arranged in squares.

The ring fort at Fyrkat, just outside of modern-day Hobro, measured approximately 360 feet in diameter, internally, and the earthen wall measured about 36 wide at its base and stood 9 feet high, although it was also surrounded by a 6-foot deep moat.

The stones in this picture outline the long houses and the intersecting interior roads.

Looking out through one of the gate locations, we could see a manor house on the hill opposite where there used to be a navigable river, the reason for placing the ring fort at this location over a millennium ago.

The outer side of the earthen wall was planked and there was a parapet and interior ring road used to man the defenses. Here’s an artist’s view of what the fort looked like when it was in use; pretty formidable for its day.

There is no evidence that the Fyrkat ring fort ever saw battle, but it does appear that it burned to the ground about a decade after it was built. Little else is known about the place, but it was capable of housing a garrison or a village while it stood.

Down the road from Fyrkat, there’s an open air Viking museum with several reproductions of Viking long houses and huts, depicting a typical Viking farm, and a few volunteers, dressed as Vikings, giving demonstrations.

We were the only visitors and we stayed just long enough to bake and eat some Viking bread. It tasted like pita.

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