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A mysterious candle

In 1861 soldiers dug a large hole in the North Mound at Jelling. They had to make it accessible so that King Frederik VII’s research commission could begin their studies. On that occasion they found a large wax candle. Candles have only rarely been found in Viking Age graves in Denmark, such as the Mammen grave, which is also displayed at the National Museum.

Candles are also known from graves in Norway, Russia and the Ukraine. They were apparently introduced to Scandinavia at this point, when the conversion to Christianity took place, perhaps as the symbol of the light and everlasting life. In this way candles can indicate that the dead were Christian.

A mysterious candle
Fragment of a wax candle from the North Mound in Jelling. The piece is 4.5 cm high.