New find gives strength to archaeologists’ theory that Munkebo Hill was used in the Viking period as a strategic lookout to monitor trade routes in Odense Fjord and in Kerteminde Fjord.
Archaeologists from the Museums of Eastern Funen have found the traces of a 26 m. (85.3 ft.) long and 8 m. (26.2 ft.) wide house from the Viking period on Munkebo Hill.
Archaeologist Malene Refshauge Beck, The Museums of Eastern Funen, reports:
“The house or hall is of the so-called Trelleborg type, which means it is curved on the long sides and has indoor columns to support the roof. It looks like the houses we’re familiar with from the Viking ring forts like Trelleborg. The house is larger than the one we found here in 2015, which could mean that we’ve found the main building, though I can’t say that with any certainty. There could be much more up here.”
Surveillance and defense
There is no doubt that the building could be seen from afar, and that people could, from here, keep an eye on a wide area.
“Right down the hill, there was an underwater blockage in Kerteminde Fjord, which makes us believe that this spot could have played an important role in surveillance or defence of the important trade routes or settlements around Odense Fjord and Kerteminde Fjord,” says Malene Refshauge Beck.
Sword bead from the Viking period
In addition to the Viking house, archaeologists have found a so-called cultural layer, which in this case refers to the settlement’s dunghill. The dunghill is interesting because it contains well-preserved animal bones, so we can see what was on the menu in the Viking hall over 1000 years ago. Other things were thrown on the dunghill, too, among other things several rivets and the most interesting find so far, a sword bead from the Viking period.
“The sword was a prestige weapon and definitely not for everyone. The same is true for the spur found in 2015. The two objects tell us that we are in what one could call the upper social level of the Viking times,” says Malene Refshauge Beck.
Added bonus: cooking pits from the Bronze Age
As an added bonus, the Museums of Eastern Funen have also found a so-called cooking pit area from the late Bronze Age (900-500 BC). Cooking pits are a kind of earth oven where food could be roasted, probably in connection wtih ritual gatherings held between the two burial mounds on the hilltop.