Lindholm Høje

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Lindholm Høje, June 2004, view overlooking Nørresundby and across the Limfjord to Aalborg

Lindholm Høje (trans: the rise of Lindholm) is a major Viking burial site and former settlement situated to the north of and overlooking the city of Aalborg. The first major excavation of 700 graves began in 1952, although earlier excavations, such as that in 1889, had been conducted.

The southern part of Lindholm Høje dates to 10001050 AD, while the northern part is significantly earlier, dating back to 700 – 1000 AD.

The settlement is at an important crossing over the Limfjord, a stretch of water which divides what is now Jutland. During the Viking period, it was only possible to make the crossing at this point or much further along the fjord at Aggersund because of the swamps which then edged the fjord on either side.

The settlement was abandoned in c. 1200 AD, probably due to the sand which drifted from the western coast, which was a consequence of extensive deforestation and the exposed sand then being blown inland by the rough westerly winds. In large part, the sand which covered the site served to protect it over the intervening centuries.

Because of its location and transportation links, the settlement was obviously a significant centre for trade at the time, and this is more than borne out by the artefacts which were uncovered by archaeologists.

The majority of the burials discovered were cremations, although a number of inhumations were also discovered, and it appeared that the tendency towards cremation or burial was split dependent upon the period of the inhumation. Most of the graves are marked with stones placed roughly in the traditional shape of a boat, indicating the importance that the Vikings placed upon water, both their shape and size being indicators of the status and gender of the persons inhumed – all of which is reminiscent of the ship burials of the Anglo-Saxons, Norwegian Vikings and other north-European societies.

The site is extensive and impressive to behold. There is a museum adjacent to the site donated by Aalborg Portland A.S., a local cement company to commemorate their centennial; the museum opened in 1992.

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Lindholm Høje

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