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Nydam mose – the boats (completed)

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Dr. Andreas Rau

Nydam boat

The early finds and the excavations from 1989 to 1999

The site of Nydam, in Southern Denmark, ranks among the salient localities for Central and Northern European research into the Early Historic period, not least because of the surviving Nydam boats. During the period AD 250-480, and within the framework of sacrificial activities, large quantities of military equipment were deposited here which can be interpreted as the spoils of war, i.e. war booty, gained during the course of military conflicts between different socio-political units.

Towards the end of the 20th century, excavation campaigns at the site by the Danish National Museum documented numerous cultural-historically very important objects and finds dating from the Late Roman Iron Age and Migration period.

By virtue of the large number of offerings (at least six but probably as many as seven or eight separate deposition events), together with the diversity of the equipment represented in the finds assemblages, the finds material from Nydam provides essential access to the history of events and lines of cultural-historical development in the northern part of Barbaricum during the Late Roman Iron Age and Migration period.

Nydam bog – the boats

The boats found at Nydam, both the early finds from 1863 and the additional boat components recovered during the most recent excavations, play an extremely important role relative to our understanding of the Nordic boat-building tradition, of the transfer of technology from the Roman world and of the mobility of Barbarian warrior groups. Within the framework of this publication project a comprehensive catalogue will be presented of the new boat-related finds from 1989-1999 (F. Rieck, Køge) as well as a volume providing detailed analysis of the ship-archaeological evidence and its significance from a Nordic and Mediterranean-Roman perspective (R. Bockius, M. Gerds, O. Grimm, A. Rau, F. Rieck).


This is a joint project, carried out in close co-operation between various institutions (ZBSA, the Danish National Museum, Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Køge Museum, the Nydamselskab and the Archäologisches Landesmuseum Schleswig-Holstein).


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