Tissø, Denmark

Site Overview

See many impressive finds, including the Tissø Ring

There have been several excavations around Tissø, but the discovery of the Tissø Ring, a 10th-century golden ornamental ring found during ploughing, led to the excavation of a Viking complex, of c.500,000m2 (50ha) in total. The site, on the western shore of Lake Tissø, is now known as Kalmargården.

The Dwellings

  • An enormous great hall (48m x 12m) was situated within an enclosure area, of around 12,000m2, at least three times larger than the usual farm found in Denmark.
  • A second hall, at 8m x 35m, smaller but still exceptionally large by comparison with the average Viking hall, was found in 2012.
  • There was a third large hall, some longhouses and some smaller houses inhabited by less important or wealthy people.
  • Surrounded by numerous small buildings which have been interpreted as Cult buildings.

The numbers of animal bones and fragments of drinking glasses found in the great hall demonstrate that feasting was taking place there. There was a large pile of burnt and heat-shattered stones outside the hall. The Vikings cooked by heating stones and putting them in an oven or into a hole in the ground, in order to create a dry heat.

Cult Sites

There are also several other “cult sites” in the wider surrounding landscape, but in approximately 1050 everything disappeared as Denmark adopted Christianity. The cult structures were apparently demolished and replaced by a small Christian chapel. This was a square stave building measuring only 7m x 7m, perhaps one of the first private churches in Denmark.

The Finds

The finds have been as impressive as the buildings, including jewellery in gold, silver and bronze. At 1.83kg, the Tissø Ring is one of the largest gold finds from Denmark.

Viking weapons and jewellery were recovered from the lake known as Tissø (Týr’s lake). Týr was the Viking god of war and the weapons were probably an offering to him.

Weapons and smith’s tools have also been found nearby, at the Viking bridge over the River Halleby. The smith was highly regarded in Viking society and his work was considered as holy.

On a hilltop a few hundred metres from the great hall, there was an open hørg (an altar or cult site). A thick layer of animal bones was interpreted as the remnants of ritual feasts. Offerings of silver objects, coins, jewellery and tools were also found buried on the hill. At least four different sacrificial sites were in use simultaneously, perhaps at different times of year.

Nature Park and Fugledegård Viking Centre

Today the outline of the great hall is laid out on the ground and there is an onsite exhibition at the Nature Park and Fugledegård Viking Centre. A selection of the finds, both high status jewellery and ornaments and everyday objects, can be seen in Kalundborg Museum.

Fugledegård Viking Centre is the focus for dissemination regarding the whole Naturpark Åmosen. The Visitor Centre includes an audio-visual exhibition about Viking Life around the royal farm at Tissø, and has a beautiful reconstruction of the 1.8kg Tissø woven-gold neck-ring along with 12,000 other artefact fragments. Children can play paint-and-sacrifice or dress up as Vikings, while an English text-guide gives context to the era's religious beliefs.

Visitor Information
Season - Months Open
Open all year round
Opening Hours - Days and Times
Weekdays all year
Weekends during the summer holidays
Charges
40 kroner to enter the exhibition
Free for children under 18 years
Other Amenities
  • Visitors Centre
  • Indoor and Outdoor Exhibition
  • Cafe
  • Shop
  • Guided Tours with archaeologist on booking
Contact Details
Address

Bakkendrupvej 28, 4480 Store Fuglede, Denmark

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