Long lost village gifted by Danish king unearthed (PHOTOS)

Long lost village gifted by Danish king unearthed (PHOTOS)
A long lost village, dating back to the Middle Ages, has been discovered in east Denmark. Archaeologists say they believe the site at Tollerup is a lost settlement which was documented in historical tax rolls and royal letters.

Three farmhouses including two cellars from between the 14th-17th century were excavated at the site. One of the cellars was so big, it’s believed it came from a very large farm, Gunvor Christiansen, archaeologist with Roskilde Museum told RT.

Historical sources suggest that the farms belonged to the village rulers and the manor was used to store tax revenues in the form of objects collected from the villagers.

“The interesting thing about this find is that we have some very old written sources that [give us] an entirely new understanding from what we can interpret from the excavation alone,” Christiansen previously told Science Nordic.

The excavated farm houses date back to the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance –  making them a rare find in Denmark.

“We have lots of excavations from earlier periods. For example from the Stone Age and Bronze Age. But unfortunately not from the Middle Ages because the houses were built in a different way,” explains Nils Engberg, curator at the National Museum of Denmark.

The three farms are approximately 5 meters wide and 15 to 20 meters long, while the manor has a cellar area of 50 sq meters. The foundations of the outer wall of the manor suggest that it was a two-storey building.

A letter from King Canute IV recorded the gifting of a village at this location to a bishop in 1085. Tax rolls from 1370 refer to six farms and a manor on the site.

A gravel pit beside the three farms could explain why the remains of the other three farms were not found, Christiansen said. Speaking to RT she says they are very sure that this is the same site as recorded on the tax roll.

“(It was) divided into parishes, and the parish mentioned along with Tollerup is the same as it is today, and this is where our excavation is,” she said.

Archaeologists say they do not know why the village was abandoned but suspect it fell under the Diocese of Roskilde.

The site was first excavated by amateur archaeologists in 1979 after some big stones were discovered on a field. The dig uncovered one house which contained tiles from an oven with religious motifs dated from between 1500-1600 and painted window glass – “not a common thing for medieval people in the countryside in Denmark,” Christiansen pointed out.

While the possibility was discussed that this find could indicate traces of the village of Tollerup, it was not possible to carry out a larger excavation at the time.

Earlier this year Roskilde Museum was asked to make an excavation of the same area as plans were underway to build an indoor swimming pool. Archaeologists excavated a site of 5,000 sq meters, leading to the discovery of the village.

They are now excavating the field next to it, and have already found some traces which they believe are from the older medieval period (11th-12th century). This work is expected to be complete early next year.