Kirken som gik i havet: udgravninger i Mårup Kirke 1998, 2009 og 2015

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The church that fell into the sea– Excavations in Mårup Church in 1998, 2009 and 2015. When Mårup Church was built around 1200 it lay some 1.2 km inland. Now the coastal slope transects the church site, but before this happened the church building had been taken down and investigated, and in 1998, 2009 and 2015 there were archaeological excavations in and around the church (fig.4). Three extensions have been documented: a Late Medieval tower with the same width as the nave, walls 1.2 m thick and a floor that once rose 0.8 m above that of the nave; a presumably High Medieval annexe east of the chancel, probably functioning as a sacristy, and a Late Medieval porch with a ground plan of 4 x 4 m. Tower and sacristy were demolished at the beginning of the 1700s, while the porch was succeeded by a new porc in the 1800s. Inside the church two side altars were realized in the nave as well as stairs up to the higher-lying floor of the tower. The altar was renovated and moved twice. A child’s grave was found in front of the first altar. There were surprisingly many graves in the church, also from the Middle Ages, several with a nonstandard orientation. In other contexts this phenomenon has been interpreted as graves from an older church, but the theory could not be confirmed in the case of Mårup Church. Nevertheless there is a grave that is certainly older than the foundations of the stone church. It is likely that there was a predecessor to the known stone church, probably built in wood. Nature – that is, the sea – has taken the graves from the churchyard. Skeletal remains are continously collected and reburied. The graves were therefore not an object of investigation in the excavations. The present wall, which is covered with earth and grass, conceals two older walls: a first wall built of turf with a ditch in front of it; it has been proposed that it was linked with the churchyard of a wooden church. Then a stone wall, also with a ditch. Bricks have been found in this connection, and it must have belonged with the stone church; then, after much sanding-up, another stone wall, now without an accompanying ditch. Two nearby abandoned churches, Rubjerg and Lyngby (fig.3), are also in danger of falling victim to the sea. It is the hope of the authors that they too can be investigated. Much new knowledge can be gained here about the medieval churches and their churchyards.
TidsskriftNationalmuseets Arbejdsmark
Udgave nummer2016
Sider (fra-til)130-143
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - 2016


  • Church archaeology