In line with other endeavours expressive of the spirit of self-assertion aroused in the Danish people at the occupation of Denmark by foreign troops during World War II, the Danish National Museum, subsidized by the State Employment Department and the Carlsberg Foundation, undertook a series of thorough and methodical excavations of the two famous Royal Barrows at Jelling in East Jutland (FIG. I), dating from the middle of the 10th century A.D.
Earlier excavations here, in 1821 and 1861 (1), had been inconclusive. Ample room still remained for hypotheses and suggestions, and divergent views gradually produced quite a literature on the subject (2). Through the recent examination, the most extensive excavations of their kind in Scandinavia, of the southern barrow, the so-called King Gorm Mound, excavated in 1941, and the northern barrow, the so-called Queen Tyre Mound, in 1942 (3), it became possible to eliminate several doubtful points which had confronted people interested in history for more than a hundred years. At the same time, a solid foundation was laid for the future understanding of the Jelling monuments—the barrows and the runestones—the most significant in Danish history, because they bear witness to the kings who united the smaller Danish Kingdoms into one realm (4).