Controlling Danish waters
The Kanhave Canal, which intersects the narrowest point of the island of Samsø, ranks among the greatest construction works of the ancient past. Approximately 500 metres long and 11 metres wide, the canal was dug by manpower to allow ships to pass from one side of…
Built by a powerful king
Samsø's unique position at the heart of Denmark" is likely to have determined construction of the ancient Kanhave Canal. Positioning a fleet in the natural harbour formed by Stavn Fjord afforded control over all vessels passing on either side of Samsø and other domestic Danish waters. This made it possible to intensify sea defence, intercept passing ships and levy tolls. There can be no doubt that building the canal was labour intensive, but it offered many advantages. A construction project on this scale can only have been supervised by an organised, centralised power. The Kanhave Canal thus indicates the presence of a powerful king as early as in the 700s. "
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