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- History & research
The Viking Reserve of Foteviken is created in order to illustrate what a densely built-up settlement might have looked like during the late Viking Age and early Middle age. This area is being developed gradually and it will look more and more like a little early medieval city.
Semicircular defence earthworks enclose the conurbation. The wall opens toward the beach of Höllviken to the west. In the north and south there are two town gates, with the main street of the town running between them. From this smaller streets lead down to the structures east of the main road. Buildings of various dimensions and styles crowd the area. In front of the town hall there's an open square for gathering.
In this area you will find simple handicraft houses. You also find a house for travelling pilgrims.
This is a reconstruction of a late Viking Age house, discovered at an archaeological excavation in the City of Ystad, in Scania. The house is a blacksmith's workshop. The outer room of this house was used as a workshop with the forge and the pair of bellows. The inner room is situated about half a metre under the ground level and it was probably used as a dwelling room for the blacksmith. The room is simply furnished with a bed, a table and a bench.
Pithouses were common during the Viking Age. The house has a length of 5 metres and a width of 4 metres. Half of the house is situated under the ground level. The archaeologists often discover weights, made of clay in the pit houses. These weights belonged to the upright Viking Age looms. This indicates that the pit houses were used as handicraft workshops. Hearths are not common in the pit houses and it is therefore likely that the houses were used only during the warmer season. The houses were perhaps used for storage during the winter.
Inside this pit house there is a long bench fixed to the wall. This was probably used as a bed or for sitting in during work. Fragments of such long benches have been found in the Parish of Fosie, near the City of Malmoe. This kind of bench was made of earth and wood. They were constructed with earth filling material and there was a wooden framework on the side.
All our animals need tending and care. This is a simple house build in Wattle and Daub technique with a turf roof. The roof rafters reach all the way down into the ground, a typical Viking Age construction. It was built for our poultry and it was one of the first houses to be built in the Viking Reserve. The Vikings need the eggs for cooking the old traditional food of Scania.
This house is built in Wattle and Daub technique and with a framework of oak. The roof is made of turf. The house is situated directly outside of the defence earthworks of the village. This simple and sturdy house is open for all visiting Vikings on their pilgrimage, seeking the famous Scanian hospitality (despite its name).
Inside the southern gate, west of the road along the coast the Tannery with the small smokehouse and fishery cottage is located. Further north the guard tower looms over the northern gate.
This is a Stave wall house built of solid oak. The walls are constructed with double stave planks. The original was discovered at the archaeological excavations of the Viking Age City of Haithabu, in Schleswig, in Germany. The original house probably had some kind of tightening material between the stave planks. The tightening material used here at Foteviken, is grass-wrack, a kind of seaweed, which is very common around the coast of Scania. The grass-wrack does not rot, contrary to straw.
This is a small wooden house and the original is depicted on some rock-carvings. The small cottage is built in Thatched countrey technique and Wattle and Daub technique. The roof reaches almost to the ground and forms together with the inner and outer walls extra space for storage around the cottage. The hearth on the stone floor and the benches, fixed to the wall create a genuine Viking Age atmosphere.
Inside the inner timbered room, the fish or meat is hanging, while the smoke rises from the hearth on the floor at the correct temperature. It takes about three hours for the fish to ready and about six hours for the meat. Before smoke curing, the fish or meat is hung up for drying in the little outer room. The wattle walls supply the perfect climate for this procedure. The drying is very important, in order to prevent the fishes from becoming to soft and fall down from the smoke hooks during the smoke-curing.
The guard tower on its elevated location by the norhtern town gate serves several purposes. The view allows excellent lookout for incoming dangers both from the sea and land. It also allows the town authorities to keep track of travellers by land and sea, ensuring that tolls and taxes are paid, and get an overview of what transpires within the town.
Narrow lanes emanates from main road. The lanes run into the settlement. When entering the little city via The South gate, you will find the first lane to the right. This is The Tinghöll lane, which leads to Tinghöll. Located at this lane are also the magnificent house of the juror and the house of weaver. Further along another lane runs from The Commonage street to the merchant's home. Fences and ditches separate the different sites. There are small footbridges lying over the ditches.
"A country must be built up by a law." These magnificent words were uttered by the Danish king Valdemar the Victorious in 1241. The Viking Reserve of Foteviken has of course its own juror. The juror dwells in a magnificent house of his own. There are two rooms in this house and some guests may stay the night if the juror is gracious. Couples getting married at Foteviken, in The Thinghöll, may of course use the house as bridal apartment during their wedding night. The long sides are built in Thatched countrey technique and the gables are built in Wattle and Daub technique.
Tinghöll is the great town hall of congregation and festivities of The Viking Reserve of Foteviken. The construction technique is based on that of Norweigan stave churches and descriptions in Icelandic sources.
The house is built in Wattle and Daub technique. These kinds of houses were probably typical for the late Viking Age cities. Inside the house there is a smoke-oven keeping the house nice and warm, even during the coldest winter nights.
The originals of this beautiful house were found at archaeological excavations in the City of Lund, in Scania. The original houses date back to the mid 11th century. These kinds of houses are called Stave walls houses. There are thick oak uprights firmly secured in the ground, supporting the house. The stave planks are jointed in the bottom sill. The overhanging anchor beams are decorated with carved dragonheads, one of the favourite motives of the Vikings.
The storehouse is separated from the bakers home by a small gap. This building is constructed as a half timbered house with wattle and daub walls, a fairly typical design for the Scanian plains. This type of building dates back to the Bronze Age and is an indication of a construction technique used when there was a shortage of timber. The roof of the storehouse is made with special lengthwise beams with large holes. The wooden roof is in this way split into an upper and a lower roof section, based on a find in Lund. This construction has several advantages. Instead of long, likely expensive wooden planks shorter construction material could be used. The holes let in light, but more importantly serve as air and smoke holes protected from whimsical gusts of wind.
The bakery is placed at the far end of the baker's estate due to the increased risk of fire in such a building. How a bakery would have looked during the Viking Age is unknown but the tales often mention such buildings.The building would obviously have held both a fireplace and an oven. The building is constructed in thatched countrey style with horisontal planks between posts. The roof is made of cleaved round timber. The disadvantage of this design is keeping it tight. If you hollow out a cleaves round timber log however it may be used in the same manner as medieval roof tiles with monk and nun tiles - two logs covering each other. To test this method the bakery was constructed using this roof design. The result is excellent. The smoke can easily pass through the ceiling while rain water is kept from leaking in.
In the center of the bakeri is a large daub bakery oven. The bottom foundation of several such ovens have been found, among them one in Malmö from the mid 13th century.
The cooking shed is the latest addition to the Baker estate, located just past the bakery.
This is a South-Geatish house. It is two houses built together, a dwelling house and a barn with an attic. The dwelling house is built in Wattle and Daub technique and the barn or farm building is a Thatched countrey cottage. Inside it is nice and cosy. There is a smoke-oven, a wooden floor of oak and elegant furniture. The famous Tapestry of Foteviken, depicting The Battle of Foteviken in 1134, is hanging on the wall. The poor-man's beam is there too. This beam marked the border of the privacy of the home. It also marks the border between the poor travellers, seeking food and fervour and the rest of the household.
This house built in Wattle and Daub technique and timbered roof, is situated far away from The Commonage street, due to the danger of fire. The house has two rooms, the workshop and a little dwelling room for the blacksmith. Next to this house there is also a little blast-furnace for making iron. Here also stands a rune stone in loving memory of the Viking blacksmith Pierre.