Dating Lejre

The Danes plan to put the finds on permanent display next year at Roskilde and Lejre Museums.

In the Beowulf legend – which is believed to have influenced some aspects of Tolkien’s and was turned into a 150 million dollar Hollywood film six years ago – a young nobleman from southern Sweden goes to neighbouring Denmark to save its ruling elite from the depredations of a monstrous man-eating giant called Grendel.

The discoveries, reported in the current issue of , are of international importance.“For the first time, archaeology has given us a glimpse of life in the key royal Danish site associated with the Beowulf legend’’, said project director Dr.

As well as investigating the hall most likely to have been the one associated with the Beowulf legend, the archaeologists have found, excavated and dated six other royal feasting halls in Lejre.

The king accepts – and Beowulf waits alone in the great hall for the giant to attack again.

In the epic battle between the two that then ensues, the giant is defeated and retreats to a cave beneath a nearby lake where he is finally killed by Beowulf.

The dark secrets of the legend of Beowulf, England’s oldest work of epic literature, are gradually emerging from under a field in eastern Denmark.

Archaeologists in the country’s earliest royal ‘capital’ – Lejre, 23 miles west of modern Copenhagen – are investigating the joys of elite Dark Age life in and around what was probably the great royal feasting hall at the violent epicentre of the Beowulf story.

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