Large Viking Hall Found on Munkebo Hill

26. October 2018 | Viking Museum Ladby

The largest Viking-era house on Funen bears witness to the strategic importance of Munkebo Hill.

With a width of 10.5 m. (34.5 ‘), the recently uncovered house sets itself apart from other Viking-period remains of houses found earlier on Munkebo Hill. A large palisade-type fence around the building indicates, possibly, that there was a special significance to the area. The building represents a great many resources (materials) used in its construction, and the site undoubtedly played an essential role in the Viking period. The large, mansion-sized building lay with other houses on the site between two burial mounds from the early Bronze Age, at the top of the hill. The two mounds framed the site and added a monumental dimension to the landscape. Archeologists have not previously found prehistoric buildings of this size on Funen.

Open map of the excavations on Munkebo Hill

A mansion from the Viking period

Finds from the hilltop can be broadly dated to 825-1000 AD, thereby including most of the Viking period. The “mansion” on Munkebo Hill could certainly have been in use during the reign of the Ladby king, during the first decades of the 900’s. Carbon 14 dating results will hopefully reveal a more precise date, to help us to understand the context of the site and its significance.

Landscape of power

Just at the foot of Munkebo Hill, traces of an underwater blockage were previously found, across Kerteminde Fjord. This also points to the strategic importance of the hilltop site for the area. At the same time, the large buildings and the palisade-type fence could also be seen at a distance, which was doubtless just as essential. Visibility has always been an important consideration if one wanted to control an area.

From Munkebo Hill, there is a clear view to Ladby, across the fjord, where the Ladby king was buried in the 900’s in his ship. It is therefore a natural conclusion to consider Munkebo Hill as a crucial place for the Ladby king.

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