A Viking Network Info-sheet:
Lindholm Hoeje - a graveyard and a settlement
Line Kristensen, Jeannette Rahmberg, Malene Damborg, Martin Kristensen, Carsten Haugaard, Pernille Gundersen
"Lindholm Hoeje" means "the small hills of Lindholm".
The first real excavation at Lindholm Hoeje was going on in 1889. The cause of this was, that there had been found some stone circles at the hill in the suburb Lindholm. Before the excavation, the place covered with a four meters deep layer of shifting sand. Since then, some small excavations went on before the real excavation begun between1952 and 1958. There are still parts of Lindholm Høje which not have been excavated yet. The excavation has shown, that Lindholm Hoeje contains: A graveyard, two villages and a newly ploughed field (ploughed just before the vikings left the place). The southern part of Lindholm Hoeje is dated to 1000- 1150 A. D. while the northern part is dated to 700- 1000 A.D.
At Lindholm Hoeje there have been found pillar holes (from uprights in the longhouses), wells, fences and other things. In addition, there were traces of fireplaces, hollows and several houses, half buried in the earth. Those houses are approximately 1/2-1 meters deep, 3-5 meters long and 2-3 meters wide (oval). While the sand slowly cowered older parts of the graveyard, the vikings made new graves. Put together, the area has been a community for about 500-600 years, probably in the period between 400 to shortly before th 1000 A. D., which means, that the site existed from late in the ironage and until late in the vikingage.
The oldest and the youngest of the graves were the ones without any stone circle. These were found on the top of the hill and by the foot. The majority of graves were the ones where the bodies were cremated; they could in some cases just be seen as a spot from the fire. The most conspicuous of these were the ones, which had a big stone circle. They could be both oval, round, triangular and formed as a ship. It depended on which sex the burieded had. The graves of the women were oval, whereas the triangular and stone ship graves were for the men. Because the dead was cremated, a great deal of the grave goods had disappeared. The goods the fire only melted, for example trinkets made of glass and bronzbuckles, which was a part of the dress, was found in the graves where the people where cremated. The women were by and large buried with dressbuckles and knives, whereas the men mainly brought along axes of different sorts. The archaeologists also found iron knives, whetstones, spindle weight, pieces for games, boxes of wood and bones from domestic animals. Thanks to these, the archaelogists have been able to date the many graves.
The other finds at Lindholm Hoeje
At the Lindholm Hoeje, the archaelogists also found various potsherd from pottery (clay), bones from domestic animals, whetstones of slate, slags from metal manufacturing, iron spikes, worn-out iron knives, fragtments of moulds for cup-shaped buckles, lost glass beads plus bronze jewellery. A lot of the glass beads were home-made but the pearls made from rock crystal and carneol have come from the south. At the youngest area of the site, the following finds has been excavated: Rivets, remains of soapstones, a unique silver ornament and 14 silver coins of which the oldest one has been made by Knud The Great (1018-35) and the youngest one by Vilhelm The Conqueror in 1087.
At the eldes settlement, the well preserved field was found. The newly ploughed field with distinct furrows was cowered by a sudden sandstorm, but because of this disaster, to this very day it can be seen and indicates the use of a mouldboard plough - most likely a wheelplough. (This fact perhaps indicates the metod of working together already in the viking age village, a well documentated way of farming in medieval time!?).
The food has for the most part been composed of meat, milk, butter and cheese and to that bread, porridge and vegetables supplemented with fish, shellfish, berries, nuts and venison. The vikings got the nourishment from fishing, farming and a bit hunting.
The trading at Lindholm Hoeje
Lindholm Hoje was in the viking age locted close to The Limfjord. Actually, you could walk from the hill straight to the inlet. The place was probably chosen, because of its good conditions for transporting people and goods to and from the site. After all, there was a lot of trading at and around Lindholm Hoeje. Lindholm Hoeje wasn't a real village, but a graveyard and a settlement. Before the excavation, there wasn't a lot of proofs of the vikings as businessmen/merchants, but with the excavation of Lindholm Hoje this was proofed. The reason why the archaelogists were so sure was because of the coins and the different articles imported from foreign countries to Lindholm Hoje. For instance, rocks from Norway, Islamic silvercoins, crystals and pearls from Central Asia. The imported articles also proofs, that Lindholm Hoeje must have been a central place in Northend Jutland, an economic centre.
Lindholm Hoeje was - as mentioned before - a settlement with agriculture as main profession. However, the mixture of trade and commerce tells us, that this site has been quite another society than farmers villages in Denmark at that time, for instance Vorbasse (look t the farmhouse from Vorbasse in the common introduction to this project). Lindholm Hoeje was a very early mixture of those activities, which later formed the economic base of a "city", with links to Centaleurope, in the 700th.-century.
To define a city can be difficult. But the following factor must be permitted: A certain density, a certain size, and finally, as a very important factor, another main profession than agriculture. Or rather: Trade and commerce has to be main profession. In the city, you would in addition often find certain centralfunctions such as ecclesiastial administration, including the areas judical court of first instance.
The hill in Lindholm has for that reason without doubt been one of Nothern Jutlands most momentous, central and conspicuous settlements, which most of all is an result by the highly suitable and practical position.
The Limfjord had not, at the approciate time, the present shape, but totally different shores ,which litterally were right below the hill, so the citizens had a free acces to the ships.
The trade in the Viking age seems most of all to show an economic upturn for the domestic community. The many coin- and treasurefoundings gives a small hint of how much the grocers brought home, besides the articles and commodities they traded themselves to at forreign markets. In many areas, these articles must have changed the Scandinavians everyday life: New species of gran, better technics, unknown clothes, different tasteexperiences, new and better tools and new status symbols.
Besides that, the trade also implied educational contact with other and forreign cultures, among others Russia, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
The vikings active participation and involvement in the international commercial communication gave rise to the city culture. The trade articles had to be distributed further out into the lokal community and the local produced articles had to be gathered on places from which there where contact with the distant trading routes.
Oscar Marseen, Lindholm Hoeje.
Aalborg Museum, Bodil Moeller Knudsen og Erik Johansen, Lindholm Hoeje; gravplads og landsby.
Jan Kock, Aalborgs historie 1.
The museum at Lindholm Hoeje: Different papers and the exhibition.
Peter Foote and David M. Wilson, Sidgwick & Jackson, The viking achievement.
Bo Rasmussen, Rundtur på Lindholm Hoeje.
Oscar Marseen, Lindholm Hoeje.
Jan Kock og Annette Trolle, Lindholm Hoeje - et kulturmonument.