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Research into the Early Roman Iron Age site of Hoby, Lolland

Dr. Ruth Blankenfeldt

Hoby stoneNinety years ago, a richly furnished inhumation grave dating from the Early Roman Iron Age was discovered at Hoby, Western Lolland. In addition to artefacts of precious metal and bronze of local origin, the grave contained tableware and a substantial drinking set of Italian origin. The best-known artefacts are probably two large silver beakers showing scenes from Homer’s Iliad. A further grave, found nearby, dating from the time shortly before the birth of Christ, can similarly be assigned to a person of high rank.

► Link to the Danish National Museums's exhibition on Hoby


Hoby area

Meanwhile, by way of pottery finds recovered by an amateur archaeologist, initial indications have become available of a contemporary settlement, located in close proximity to the burials. Following minor investigations in 2000 and 2001, a larger excavation campaign was mounted in 2005 under the direction of Susanne Klingenberg of the National Museum in Copenhagen. The evidence documented in the course of this included the remains of ten houses, some involving several phases.

Hoby Geophysik

In May 2010, the c. 2 ha settlement area and the zone around the sites of the earlier grave finds were subjected to a complete geophysical survey under the direction of Christina Klein, Institute of Geosciences, CAU in Kiel. Drilling surveys, carried out in parallel, in several instances revealed the presence of archaeological layers.

Hoby Geophysik team

The aim now is to investigate and publish the graves and the settlement in a joint project between the National Museum in Copenhagen, Museum Lolland-Falster and the ZBSA. In connection with this it is planned to carry out further detailed archaeological analysis of the finds and a series of scientific/environmental investigations. Furthermore, additional fieldwork will also be carried out in the Hoby area which, ideally, will reveal a more accurate picture of this locality and its chronological range.

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