Historical knowledge

The magnate’s courtyard at Tissø

The magnates’ residence on the west bank of the lake Tissø in western Zealand was one of the biggest. The residence, which covered an area of 500,000 m2, was built in the time around 550 AD. In the middle of a large palisaded enclosure lay an impressive hall building. This was built with heavy timbers and was the size of a modern sports hall. Outside the enclosure were workshop areas and a market place that was visited by craftsmen and traders on special occasions. More than 12,000 objects have been found at the residence, including several gold and silver hoards, jewellery, weapons and tools. Finds have also been made of coins and weights from trading, as well as models, moulds and casting refuse from jewellery production. In addition, weapons and jewellery deposited in the lake at Tissø from the period 600-1000 AD reveal that it was used for offerings. Tissø means the Lake of Tyr – one of the Viking gods of war.

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