Short Study Tour: Viking Ship Burial

Trip Start Aug 25, 2007
Trip End Dec 20, 2007

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Flag of Denmark  ,
Friday, September 14, 2007

Our first planned activity was to go to a folk high school.  It's some kind of live in school where people of any age take classes for fun and don't get grades and very popular in Denmark.

Unfortunately (or not so much) everyone at the folk high school was sick so we ended up at this place.   

It was the middle of nowhere with an RV out front.  It looks like an American tourist trap.

However, that little building is a small Viking museum.  Behind the building, and a hike through some cornfields and we came to the mound. 

The mound must have been reconstructed because over the years it was plowed for farm use until one day the farmer hit something.  What they found was a Viking burial site.  The wood from the ship has rotted away but it left a perfect impression in the soil.  The site was kept intact and now you can walk under the mound and view the ship through glass. 

Vikings used to just load of the ship, send it out to sea, and light it on fire.  But then Christianity came and forbid cremation.  The poor confused Vikings didn't really understand the whole burial concept so when it came to the more important people, they took the entire ship, loaded it up...and then stuck it in the ground.  This ship was probably looted as there is no skeleton of a man.  However, he was buried with something like 5 horses and two dogs.  The horse skeletons are still very easy to recognize. 

They even found a dog leash, complete with a swivel chain so the dog didn't try to choke itself or get tangled up. 

After the ship, we hung out in the gift shop for awhile while one of our tour guides bought a bottle of honey mead, what the Vikings would have drank.  We were told it was a type of wine even though it was 40 proof.  It also tasted pretty disgusting and sickenly sweet.  And one random fact about drinking in Denmark...apparently, like the Vikings, people used to be drunk...a lot.  When people used to join the army and become soldiers, they were paid some money but also 10 liters of beer...a day.  Maybe this is why Denmark lost so many wars to Sweden, who has some of the strictest laws on the sale of alcohol.
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