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History, Bloody History

overcast 14 °C

The Danes may be best known for their modern designs, clean living and respect for the environment, but it is obvious that they still cherish their rather murkier past when they were considered the pirates of the north. However, people have lived on the fertile coastal plains of Jutland since the end of the last ice-age about 10,000 years ago, so there is a lot of history to cherish – and we have just scraped the surface. First stop: Aarhus, Denmark's second largest city, to visit Grauballe Man...
This iron age man died 300 years before Christ and his perfectly preserved body was uncovered by Danish peat diggers in 1952. The discovery was a worldwide sensation because the corpse is completely intact with skin, hair, teeth and nails. A gaping wound in his neck suggests he was either murdered or sacrificed, (although the end result is pretty much the same).

Near Aarhus is the ancient fishing village of Ebeltoft where we jumped forward a couple of millenia to stroll along the cobbled streets and survey houses built in the 16th and 17th centuries...
This was Ebeltoft's elegant town hall in the 1600s...
The dungeon under the Town Hall was a prison where, in 1686, a number of women were tortured until they confessed to being witches or died of their wounds. Another form of torture in the middle-ages was to be press-ganged into the navy, although the seamen who sailed this ship may have been professionals...
This is the Fregatte Jylland, a steam assisted three-master that is one of the biggest wooden ships ever built. She was launched in 1860 and on 9th May 1864 she engaged in the Battle of Heligoland against the Austro-Prussian Empire. The battle resulted in something of a draw, with many killed and wounded on both sides, but the Jylland survived and today is a very interesting living museum in Ebelstoft harbour. Here are some gunners loading the cannons...
Denmark is very rural with only one city of any size, so we will be spending our time in small communities and seeking out roads less travelled. To start our road trip we have strayed off the beaten track entirely and are staying in a converted schoolhouse on a duck farm in southern Denmark. Nearby is Denmark's first recorded city, Ribe. The cathedral was begun in 1110 and finished in 1134 and, despite the fact that parts of it have fallen down and been rebuilt several times, it is still an impressive sight. However, we have no idea what the locals were thinking when they commissioned an avant-garde artist, Carl-Henning Pedersen, to repaint the medieval murals that had been removed from the apse walls...
Today, Ribe is a historic town close to the German border and by lunchtime the streets and numerous restaurants were packed with visitors despite the weather. Luckily we got some photos before the crowds arrived...
Now for a blog question...
We have seen dozens of these small wooden boxes, (approximately 8 inches by 4 inches), for sale in antique shops in Ribe and other towns and assumed them to be traditional Viking artifacts. But do you know what they really are?
First prize is a lunch for one in Ebeltoft, (airfare and coffee not included).
P.S. Only one lunch because we thought Norway was expensive until we got to Denmark!

It is October 4th so, 'Happy Kannelbullen Day' to our friends in Sweden.

Posted by Hawkson 11:11 Archived in Denmark

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I’m guessing soap boxes ?

by The teenager

No - not soap boxes Catherine.

by Hawkson

Butter moulds?

by Jenny

Nope - not butter. But a good try considering that we are in Denmark.

by Hawkson

How about either a window box for flowers or a pate box?

by The teenager

Boxes for spice's?

by olivia english

There seem to be small holes in the bottom of the boxes - for draining out liquid maybe? Were they for cheese?

by Shelley Tillemans


by Keith and Helen

They are moulds and the answer lies in the size - and the holes are where the frogs were attached!!!

by Hawkson

Who knew! Now, moulds for what? And what's a frog?

by Shelley

Final clue - take a close look at the buildings in Ribe.

by Hawkson

Flower boxes?

by Teenager

Did the frogs tread the milk to make butter/cheese?
Sounds rather cruel....!

by olivia english

They are brick moulds. The frog is the depression in one side of a brick, so the mould needed to have a piece of wood inserted to create the frog - hence the holes where the frogs were attached. The strange thing is that all these moulds were made in India - we have no idea why so many are in Denmark. Surely the Danish could make their own brick moulds.

by Hawkson

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