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25.11.2020

Borre Mound Cemetery, Horten

The cemetery of the Borre Mound is part of the Borre National Park in Horten in Westfold og Telemark, Norway. It is the largest mound in Northern Europe.

In Borre National Park is the most extensive collection of royal graves in Scandinavia. There are seven large mounds and 21 smaller ones. Excavations in the 1980s showed that the oldest mounds date back to 600 AD, that is, before the Viking Age.

The park covers 45 acres (182,000 m²), and its collection of mounds is exceptional in Scandinavia. Today you can see seven large barrows and one stone pyramid. At least two mounds and one stone pyramid were destroyed in our time. There are also 25 smaller stones, and the cemetery could be larger. Some of the monuments are over 45 m in diameter and up to 6 m high. Borrehaugene provides important historical knowledge and can be seen as evidence that from the Merovingian period to the Viking Age, there was a local power center.

The first studies of the cemetery were conducted between 1851 and 1852. Local road builders used one of the burial mounds as a gravel pit and destroyed most of the richly equipped grave on a Viking ship. Antikvar Nikolai Nikolaisen researched what was left of the mound. The grave had weapons and riding equipment. During the excavations, an unusually good selection of handicrafts was found, most of which are exhibited in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo.

This artwork became known as the Borre style and is now known for its beautiful animal and knot ornaments, which were often used to decorate the harness. Some of the small stone pyramids were explored in 1925. They turned out to be simple cremation graves. Later excavations were carried out by archaeologist Bjorn Muré in 1989-1991, both in and around the national park.

In October 2007, GPR measurements carried out by the Archaeological Survey Department of the Swedish Central National Heritage Board on behalf of the Westfold County Administration led to the discovery of the buried remains of two prehistoric halls, the first significant building. remains were found in the vicinity of Borre.

In March 2013, a large-scale GPR study conducted by the Institute for Archeological Exploration and Virtual Archaeology of Ludwig Boltzmann (LBI ArchPro) in cooperation with the County of Westfold and the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) led to the opening of another large hall.

In 2015, Erich Draganitz et al. assumed that the prehistoric harbor was probably located in Borra, based on an analysis of geomorphological features.

In March 2019, archaeologists discovered a buried ship of the Viking Age. The evidence still indicates that it is the burial of a ship, usually built as a grave for dignitaries.

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