Huge 1,000 year-old Viking hall found in Denmark

Experts believe it could have been used by a Viking king named 'Bluetooth'
A man lays down amongst the outline of the newly excavated Viking hall. (Nordjyske Museer)

The Viking Age (793-1066) was a key part of the history of Scandinavia.

Made up of the modern countries of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, the Vikings were feared and famed all across Europe as conquerors, traders, and explorers. They were even the first Europeans to cross the Atlantic and reach North America, about 500 years before anyone else from the continent. That's quite an achievement!

Now a recent find in northern Denmark has uncovered a hall that dates back to the final glory years of the Viking Age. It may even have been used by one of the greatest Viking kings, Harald Gormsson.

A kingly connection

King Harald was also known as Blåtand, or Bluetooth. This is because he had a dead tooth that had turned a bluish grey. Whoa!

And yes, he is also where we got the name for the wireless connection technology between our smartphones and speakers. The inventors chose his name because he connected the feuding regions of Denmark and Norway to unite the Vikings.

He may also been a pioneering Scandinavian music DJ (we're kidding, he definitely was not).

Fantastic floor plan

A reconstruction of a typical Viking hall, or longhouse. (Anne Pedersen/Nationalmuseet i København)

But back to the Viking hall!

Sadly, no Viking structures remain fully intact as they were made of clay and wood, which are materials that can easily rot away. So this discovery is a really big deal. It reveals a lot about the size and shape of this ancient meeting hall—you can think of it as a kind of floor plan.

The building was 40 m (131 ft) long, 8 to 10 (26 to 32 ft) m wide, and boat-shaped. You can see the outline of the outer walls, as well as the bases of the oak pillars that would've supported its huge roof.

In a statement through the Nordjyske Museer, archaeologist Thomas Rune Knudsen said, "This is the largest Viking Age find of this nature in more than ten years, and we have not seen anything like it before here in North Jutland." (North Jutland is at the northernmost tip of Denmark.)

Experts say that the hall would've been reserved for the social elite to discuss important business of the kingdom.

More to find

This stone was found nearby the Viking hall. It may help to date the age of the hall and tell us who its owner was. (Nordjyske Museer)

The archeologists still have a lot more excavating to do. Says Knudsen, "We only had the opportunity to excavate part of the hall, but there are probably several houses hidden under the mulch to the east. A hall building of this nature rarely stands alone."

In the meantime, they feel that they have a good idea of whom the building belonged to. Years earlier, they found a stone with runes (letters) carved into it, saying that the land belonged to a nobleman named Runulv den Rådsnilde. The 1.5 m (5 ft.) stone was sometime between the years 970 and 1020.

Whether Bluetooth and his nobles used the hall to discuss their kingdom is still to be determined. But it is still exciting to think of how the hall might have looked in its glory days.

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  1. That’s really cool! It reminds me of when me and my family went to the Viking site in L’Anse aux Meadows NL.

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