Ejnar Dyggve, Jelling, and the Mediterranean

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportKonferencebidrag i proceedingsForskningpeer review


The Jelling Monuments, associated with the royal couple King Gorm and Queen Thyra, and their son King Harald, are well-known to scholars interested in the Christianization and consolidation of royal power in the Viking Age and early medieval period. The site has a long history of research going back to the late sixteenth century. New investigations initiated by the National Museum Jelling Project, a collaboration with VejleMuseerne and the Universities of Aarhus and Copenhagen, have revealed that the known monuments had been surrounded by an immense enclosure. The discovery rekindled interest in the work of the architect and archaeologist Ejnar Dyggve. After excavations in Jelling in the 1940s and drawing upon his experience from excavations in the eastern Mediterranean (at Thessaloniki among other sites), he presented the first comprehensive model of the spatial development of the monuments and their transformation from a pagan memorial and sanctuary to a Christian place of worship with a church and Christian rune stone. Although in part accepted, his idea of a triangular, stone-set pagan sanctuary was subject to much critique and was since abandoned. With it, other of Dyggve’s ideas concerning the purpose and architectural inspiration behind the Jelling monuments were also bypassed. With the new discoveries in mind it has proved fruitful to return to Dyggve’s visions to revaluate some of his ideas and look at Jelling as an architectural expression of power, governed by rituals and purposes which find parallels in monuments and traditions originating in the Mediterranean.
TitelVikings in the Mediterranean : Proceedings of an International Conference Co-organized by the Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish Institutes at Athens, Athens, 27-30 November 2019
RedaktørerNeil Price, Marianne Hem Eriksen, Carsten Jahnke
Antal sider16
ForlagNorwegian Institute at Athens
StatusUdgivet - 2023


  • Vikingetid
  • Cultural heritage
  • Archaelogy