The grave from Mammen

In 1868 a farmer began to dig into the mound Bjerringhøj at Mammen near Viborg. During this work he chanced upon an unusually richly-furnished grave, which has become known as the grave from Mammen. A magnate was buried in the grave during the winter of 970-71 AD. He was given an expensive costume, a ceremonial axe with inlaid silver decoration and a large wax candle.

The buried man lay upon a bed of down cushions in a coffin placed in a wooden chamber – a so-called chamber-grave. At his feet lay two axes. On the coffin lid a bronze bucket, two wooden buckets and a large wax candle had been placed. The man wore costly clothing decorated with purple and red silk, as well as embroideries in red and blue. It is not known whether the deceased was Christian or pagan. The motifs on the one axe can be interpreted as both of these, but the large candle is probably a Christian symbol. The fine quality of the furnishings shows that the deceased presumably belonged to the circle around King Harald Bluetooth.

 

The farmer’s heavy-handed digging was followed up by an archaeological excavation, from which new information about the grave came to light. Mammen is, apart from the chamber-grave, also known for a hoard find made at the same time at a gravel quarry near the village.

Candle found in the grave from Mammen.
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Mammen is located near Bjerringbro in Central Jutland.
You can see the objects from the Mammen Grave, and other grave finds from Late Iron Age and Viking Age in the exhibition about Danish Prehistory.
Wax candle from Mammen
Viking axe from Mammen