Visiting Danish pre-history

Theme

Visiting the past

2 recommendations

The Sun Chariot from Trundholm Bog, the Golden Horns of Gallehus and the silver chalice found in the burial chamber in the northern Jelling mound, are all household names today, even though they date to Denmark's prehistory. The artefacts speak to us from across the millennia of ages long past. Museum collections contain hundreds of thousands of treasures of all sizes, each one telling its own exciting story from Denmark's past.

Nature's living museum

But outside the exhibition halls of the nation's museums lie a completely different type of experience: the multitude of ancient monuments that for thousands of years have left their imprint on the landscape. History still lives in the barrows and passage graves built of massive stones. Or along the sunken roads whose deep furrows bear witness to the hundreds of carts that once made their way along the long-forgotten routes, at the towering burial mounds ingeniously built of thousands of peat squares, and on the ramparts, stretching for kilometres, built to defend against an enemy we will never know.

Prehistory without a filter

The impact of history is multiplied greater when it is met where it was made, where the past at one point was the present – where the chieftain was actually buried with his grave gifts. Or where the lavish equipment of a defeated enemy was offered to the gods in thanks. The experience of entering a passage grave can be described only as overwhelming. Travelling 5,000 years back in time to the Stone Age takes just the few moments it takes to crawl through the tunnel leading to the stone chamber. Time has stood still inside the shadowy darkness, and the stone walls that surround you are the same ones that surrounded the family that laid their departed to rest there. The past is alive here, without a filter.

High above history

Once you start looking for the signs of prehistory, you'll come to see the world with totally different eyes – with prehistoric eyes. You'll notice that Bronze Age burial mounds were often placed on hilltops or ridges, allowing them to rise above the surrounding landscape, and with a clear view to all sides. The location is no coincidence. By placing burial mounds on prominent sites, they could serve as a family monument and mark the family's right to use the surrounding land.

In the footsteps of the Egtved Girl

The mounds dotting the landscape reveal even more. In many places, they lie in rows. Rows of mounds mark the path of the long-forgotten roads once travelled by the people of the Bronze Age. Sometimes our modern roads run along the same route, and we can follow in the steps of history. It's hard not to get caught up in the moment. Here, along these same routes, through the same countryside and under the same skies, our ancestors walked some 3,500 years ago.

Danish Prehistory in Nature opens up known and unknown prehistoric sites to the public by narrating the past where it actually happened. A treasure trove of tales is just waiting to be opened by those curious enough to be part of the experience.