New detailed surveys of Viking age ship settings in Hjarnø, Denmark have been completed by archaeologists examining the origins and makeup of the Kalvestene grave field, a renowned site in Scandinavian folklore.
The archaeologists from Flinders University conducted detailed surveys to determine whether a 17th-century illustration of the site completed by the Danish antiquarian, Ole Worm, was accurate, as part of the first survey since the National Museum of Denmark discovered and restored 10 tombs on a small island off the eastern coast almost a century ago.
The burial site is made up of monuments which, according to legend, commemorate a king named Hiarni who was crowned after writing a beautiful poem on the death of the old king and who was defeated in battle on the island.
The research, published in The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, shows the design of the famous Kalvestene grave field is unusual when compared to other Danish sites of the same period which typically incorporate circle, oval or triangle stone settings in addition to the ship shaped settings. Instead, there are strong parallels with Southern Swedish sites, raising questions about links between the two regions.
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