One of the most beloved novels in the Swedish language is Frans G. Bengtsson’s Viking story RÃ¶de Orm (1941), transl. Red Orm / The Long Ships (1943). And one of the most beloved scenes in the novel are the Yuletide celebrations at the court of King Harold Bluetooth at Jelling in Jutland toward the end of the 10th century. It’s got the lines “There’s thyme in it, said Toki in a cracked voice” and “He’s done pissing now”, and a duel that ends in a man’s severed head landing in a tub of mead. (You can see why Bengtsson is one of my favourite writers.)
I recently complained about Skalk running a lot of rather uninteresting material about Jelling’s archaeology. But now something really cool has once more been unearthed there: the foundations of three large buildings of the Trelleborg type, dating from the reign of Harold or his son, Sven Forkbeard. Maybe that’s where the Yuletide feast was? The palisaded enclosure at Jelling with the buildings inside is enormous: the excavators compare it to Amalienborg, placing the 10th century enclosure’s area at six times that of the 18th century palace in Copenhagen.
Via Ã sa of Ting & Tankar.