a lovely part of Aarhus
18.07.2012 - 18.07.2012 17 °C
We travelled back to one of our favourite places in Aarhus - Moesgård Museum, and surrounds. The museum has an archaeological and ethnographic focus and is housed in Moesgård Manor estate, located in the forests south of Aarhus, and only 15mins from town. The estate covers 100 hectares of lovely landscape of park, forest, and open fields, which extends from the museum buildings down to the bay.
The museum itself comprises the manor house (a late 18thC mansion, erected 1776-78), and its out-buildings and park.
It then extends through beautiful natural surroundings and fields which house ancient structures from the Stone Age. These structures, mainly graves, are prehistoric monuments which have been relocated from their original locations. Relocation is only done when, for some reason, it is not possible for the structure to remain where it originally stood. The most imposing of these is the Kobberup Cist, a grave from the Stone Age about 1900BC. It was the first to be found from this period, and was exactly as it was left after the last burial. It was re-erected in Moesgård in 1967.
The monuments have been appropriately placed in an open field which they share with a flock of Gotland sheep, an old Scandinavian breed. I actually thought they were goats, and have since read that they are also known as goat-horned sheep!! It is enjoyable and peaceful to walk among them as you reflect on the past histories of these ancient monuments. There are many other structures which have been placed in other parts of the park and it is fun to come across them as you wander through the beautiful countryside.
The museum has several permanent exhibitions - a history of Denmark from the stone age, a display of weapons from an area not far from Aarhus which shows the art of war and power struggles in the Iron Age, and various rune stones including the Mask Stone which is famous for bearing a depiction of a facial mask and an Old Norse runic inscription describing a battle between kings. This stone is interesting as the mask has been chosen as the museum's symbol.
I also came across an excellent illustration which tells one version of the story behind the Hørning Stone which I mentioned in my previous post.
And there is also the famous 2,300 year old Grauballe Man, the world's best preserved bog body which was uncovered in 1952 from a peat bog near the village of Grauballe in Denmark. It is the body of an adult male, aged 34 years, which dates from the late 3rdC BC during the Iron Age. The wounds on the body graphically illustrate that he was most likely killed by having his throat cut. His body was then placed into the bog where it was naturally preserved for over 2 thousand years. This is one of the best preserved bog bodies every recorded. The exhibition illustrates the research conducted on the body (including a post-mortem), and the process that was carried out to preserve the body. This was new territory for the researchers as no entire bog body had ever been preserved before. Would you believe that they were even able to identify what he had for his last meal. Amazing!!! The body has been on display in the museum since 1955.
The museum currently also has a special exhibition called the Seven Vikings in celebration of its 150th anniversary. This exhibit utilises modern technology which allows the visitor to choose an object which is linked to one of the seven characters, each of which actually existed. (I chose Tove, the spouse of King Harald I of Denmark.) This object is fitted with an electronic chip which allows you to follow their personal story which is dramatised and brought to life through the use of sound, film, images and authentic archaelogical artefacts. The attention to detail is exceptional. The first stop on the journey shows each of the characters asleep, ostensibly on the start of their journey by boat to their destination. The models are lifelike and beautifully crafted. You can hear them breathing as they sleep, and watch their body rise and fall with their breath. Brilliant!!!
The skill of the museum staff, and the quality of the historical artefacts is exceptional, and the displays are clearly set out and beautifully presented. Viking Aros about which I have previous posted, is another of Moesgård's exhibitions.
Not far from the manor estate is the old water mill, and our favourite restaurant, Skovmølle (The Mill in the Forest), with typical Danish half-timbered buildings with thatched roofs. This water mill is powered by the waters of Giber River. The first reference to the mill is from 1590, however all the buildings were rebuilt and a mill-wheel installed in 1785. The mill is still working and grinds organic grain which can be purchased in the mill shop. The mill had not been working when we previously visited, but we were extremely fortunate on this visit to be able to see it in action.
And to top off a wonderful day, lunch was a must. Chas had his favourite Danish dish, Stjerneskud (translation: a shooting star), which consists of lettuce, 1 fish filet steamed in white wine, 1 fish filet in bread crumbs and fried in butter, dressing made from mayonnaise, tomato paste, tarragon vinegar and mustard, and topped with prawns, mayonnaise, dill, a slice of lemon and tomato, and .... black and red caviar. Not to be outdone, my dish was equally delicious with a beautiful fresh salad complete with the most delicious orange berries which complemented the flavours beautifully.
How idyllic is this.