Discovery of a large Viking hall from the time of King Harald at the blue tooth
Zenithal view of the excavation site of the great hall of Hune, in December 2022, in northern Denmark. North Jutland Museums

ARCHEOLOGY – The prestigious residence was identified by Danish researchers in the north of the Jutland peninsula. It could have belonged to a local Scandinavian chief, around the Xe century.

It was a place of prestige and authority from which radiated the orders, the songs and the roasted effluvia of excessive banquets. A large Viking-era hall has been excavated since late last year, near the Danish village of Hune, in the north of the Jutland peninsula. The considerable proportions of the building, 40 meters long for an estimated width of 10-12 meters, struck the archaeologists who unearthed the site.

‘This is the biggest Viking Age find we have identified in over a decade’, Thomas Rune Knudsen, head of the archaeological operation entrusted to a team from the Museums of North Jutland, said in a press release in December. According to him, the hall was probably located near other buildings, even a hamlet, “because it is rare that such structure is isolated”.

This large Viking residence was a kind of mansion that served as a place of prestige, power and warrior sociability. If this model of privileged habitat is documented before the beginning of the Viking era, traditionally located at the end of the VIIIe century, its volume grows over time. According to the Danish researchers, the structure studied at Hune thus resembles halls excavated at Fyrkat and Aggersborg, two Scandinavian fortresses built in the 10th century.e century, during the reign of King Harald the Blue Tooth, towards the end of the Viking Age.

The lord of the hall

Better still, archaeologists think they know the precise name of the owner of this great hall. Their hypothesis originates not far from the site, in the church of Hune. A rune stone, erected more than a millennium ago, stands there cramped, enclosed for centuries in a corner of the building in which it was moved. The inscription carved into the dark rock mentions a certain Runulv den Rådsnilde, to whom his three sons dedicated the monument.

The runestone now kept inside the church in Hune, Denmark. Dated from the years 970-1020, it mentions a possible local Scandinavian potentate who could have been the lord of the hall excavated since the end of last year, on the land of the municipality. North Jutland Museums

However, the rune stone is dated to the years 970-1020. Even though the Scandinavian monument has been moved since its erection, archaeologists in Jutland believe that it must have come from the surrounding area nonetheless. This would thus make Runulv den Rådsnilde, a possible local lord of Xe century and, by extension, one of the possible owners of the great hall of Hune. The track, attractive, nevertheless remains “difficult to prove”concedes archaeologist Thomas Rune Knudsen.

The multiplication of large Viking halls from the Xe century proceeds, in Denmark, from the progressive assertion of a centralized royal power under the reign of Harald with the blue tooth. The king converted to Christianity in 960 and undertook intense work to fortify his kingdom. His son Sven with the Forked Beard succeeded him in 986 and became the first Scandinavian ruler to mint coins. Carbon 14 examinations should enable Danish archaeologists to date the Hune site with more precision before the end of the year.

By Editor