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King with violence and power – The Viking king in Ladby

Guided tour of the lower secondary education at The Viking Museum Ladby

How is power created, and what does it take to hold on to it? When Harald Blueetooth was in power, he won all of Denmark, it says on the Jelling Stone. But who was in power before Harald united the kingdom?

45 years before Harald Bluetooth wrote his name into Danish history with the Jelling Stone, a rich king was exalted in a magnificent Viking ship at Ladby on East Funen. We do not know what the king’s name was, but his unusually expensive digging equipment shows that a particularly powerful Viking was buried here. We call him The Ladby King:

  • Who was the Viking king in Ladby?
  • Who did he rule over and how?
  • How did he amass wealth and influence?
  • Who was he associated with over 1000 years ago?
  • And how did he hold on to power from the inlet on East Funen?

In the museum’s exhibitions, burial mound, and cultural landscape, we explore power in the Viking Age. We examine the society of the Viking Age in contrast to the democracy of today. We relate to how the kingdoms of the Viking Age can be understood – with Ladbykongen and the Jelling Dynasty as cases. Because what was power in the Viking Age, and what is power really today?

How does it take place?
Guided tour of exhibitions, landscape, and burial mound. Along the way, we see both a reconstruction of The Ladby King’s funeral and the original items from the tomb in “The Ship of Death” and we visit the Ladby ship in the “Ship’s Tomb”, which looks exactly as the archaeologists left it after the excavation in 1937.

Which method do we use? The teaching is dialogue-based, since the purpose is for the students to wonder and actively reflect on the Viking Age. We know a lot about the Viking Age, but there is also a lot we don’t know. Along the way, we therefore involve the students’ prior knowledge and questions. The content and level of the course is targeted to the students’ age.

Shared Learning Objectives for 7th – 10th grade:

  • Students gain insight into continuity and change, as well as the interplay between past, present, and future.
  • The students become confident with a crucial period in Danish culture and history.
  • Students are trained to use archaeological and historical sources critically to gain knowledge about the past.
  • Students become aware of their own role as both being made by- and actively making history, as well as learning about the preconditions for a democratic society in contrast to the Viking Age power society.

Good to know

Courses: History and Danish
Target audience: Students from grade 7-10 and youth educations.
Duration: 1 hour
Maximum participants per course: 30 students with a minimum of 2 accompanying adults.
Price: Admission for students and teachers is free. The tour costs 550 kr. per. course of 1 hour. (However, free tour for primary schools from Kerteminde and Nyborg Municipalities)

Contact and booking
The Viking Museum Ladby at [email protected] or on 65321667

– The course can be booked every weekday year around between 9.00 and 15.00. If the course is booked on a Monday where the museum is closed, the museum will only be open while the tour takes place, and the museum store can’t be visited. 

– The course takes place both indoors and outdoors – in the museum’s exhibitions and The Ship’s Grave, which is located 300 m from the museum. The course is carried out all year round in all kinds of weather. Remember to dress for the weather!

– The museum is located on a 5 hectare open grass area. Here is plenty of space in the open air for coziness before or after the course.

– The area has numerous tables and benches where the packed lunches can be eaten.

– In the museum store you can buy ice cream, soda, coffee/tea etc.


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