In 2014, the archaeologists Søren Sindbæk and Nanna Holm discovered the hitherto hidden Viking castle castle ring on a field outside the village of Lellinge, near Køge. Prior to their discovery, they had discussed the possibility that there was yet another ring castle of the Trelleborg type on Zealand. Using Lidar photos of the landscape and gradiometer measurements, they could see a perfect circle, more than 100 metres in diameter, emerging out of the landscape. After a test excavation, their assumption was confirmed. There was indeed a Viking fortress in the form of a ring castle.
In 2015, the Danish Castle Centre and the University of Aarhus, with support from the A.P. Møller og Hustru Chastine Mc-Kinney Møllers Fond til almene Formaal, Køge Municipality and the National Museum of Denmark, embarked upon the development of a project, which would not only involve excavating important sections of the Castle Ring, but also disseminating the excavation, finds and the Viking Age for interested visitors. This is how the project was born. The concept of the project was then developed and the project designed by the Development Department of the Museum Southeast Denmark.
The name means 'Viking Castle' or 'Viking Fortress'. Ever since the Castle was discovered in 2014, the project has attracted huge international attention. Vikings are a popular topic in many parts of the world, so we expect quite a lot of foreign visitors to the Borgring (the name of the sight) . To facilitate communication we use the name “Vikingeborgen”, because we believe that it will be easier to understand and ring more bells than 'Borgring'.
We have allocated four years to the excavation. We conducted the first test excavations around the castle in 2015, before we started to construct a car park and welcome centre in the fields. So the project will conclude in autumn 2018.
As plans are right now, we will remove all traces of the excavations and the welcome centre, leaving the fields in their previous state.
Although our archaeologists are used to conducting excavations at any time of the year and in all kinds of weather, they will only excavate the Viking Castle in the summer. There are several explanations for this. The main thing is that they will be moving their excavations around the castle – a new excavation site each year. Jens and his team need time to examine the finds they have made during the summer and to prepare for the following year’s excavations. We also need to prepare the following year’s exhibitions, app updates and posters.