Drought reveals thousands of years old secrets

In News by Skjalden

This summer the worst drought in decades has hit Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The landscape is so dry that it is estimated that the agricultural losses will be in the billions. In fact, the soil is so warm, and in such lack of moisture, that even fires ignite, and roam freely in the ancient forests of Scandinavia. The fires turn everything it touches into ash and have forced many people to be evacuated from their villages.

Our brave firefighters across Scandinavia has created a shield wall with fire hoses and are helping each other, in what seems to be a losing battle.

But, we have a saying in Denmark, ”Intet er så skidt uden at være godt for noget which literally means, ”Nothing is so bad without being good for something”. The corresponding idiom in English would probably be ”every cloud has a silver lining”.

So just because we have a landscape that is so dry this summer, that even when you walk on the yellow grass it sounds like gravel, there is actually something good to it.

The past seen from the sky

In this day and age, an increasing number of archaeologists are conducting their research from the sky, and because of the drought this summer, many shapes are slowly being revealed on the ground for us. These shapes are showing themselves in forms of rectangles, circles, and lines.

These shapes make a pattern in the soil that shows us where people used to live from the stone age to the Viking age. We are able to see these patterns because our ancestors stood here many thousands years ago and dug pillars down into the ground for their houses.

The hard soil they removed has with time slowly been filled up with more nutritious soil. This means the roots can grow further down, to where the soil was moister and therefore the crops and grass tend to be a little greener than the rest, especially when it is so dry.

Ancient monuments discovered in Denmark

Because of the extreme drought this summer (2018), there have been found many ancient settlements, cemeteries, and ramparts from medieval castles throughout Denmark.

This picture has been taken over a field between the two towns Nørre Snede and Brændstup, and here we can see what seems to be the remains of a longhouse from either the Viking age or the middle ages.

This picture is over a field between the two towns Ølgod and Tistrup. If you look closely you can see the circles, these circles are the remains of 2000-year-old burial mounds (In Danish: ”Tuegrave”). At these spots, the people were cremated, and then their ash and bones were buried here at these burial mounds.

This picture is from a small hill in Northern Jutland (In Danish: Jylland), and here we can see the remains of an ancient village that is estimated to have existed 2000 years ago. The archaeologists believe that these houses were dug a little into the ground, which is why we can see the rectangles so clearly today.

This picture is from a field between the two towns Stoholm and Viborg, and here we can see small green marks that are estimated to date back to the iron age. Again we can see the circles of were the pillars from the houses used to stand. The long lines next to the Iron Age houses are tracks from the old roads.

More ancient monuments will be discovered

The air Archaeologists have been using this method for nearly 10 years in Denmark (Since 2008), but this year is when they have had the best conditions. Until now, the archaeologists have mainly focused their flights over Jutland and Fyn, but they want to continue until they have uncovered the whole country.

So far, this method has to lead to more than 1000 new discoveries, so it is safe to say it has been a success. This method gives us an overall picture of where people used to live and how their housing was located in relation to the landscape. This means that we now have the ability to study our hidden cultural heritage without the need to dig into the ground with a shovel.

This important project is financed by the government and private funds, and they are always on the lookout for more funding, you can visit their website here fortidensetfrahimlen.dk