Large-scale geophysical archaeological prospection pilot study at Viking Age and medieval sites in west Jutland, Denmark


In 2014, a team of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology, in collaboration with Holstebro Museum, conducted a geophysical archaeological prospection pilot study at several Viking Age and medieval sites in West Jutland, Denmark, sites that had been discovered earlier by aerial archaeology. The high–resolution surveys employed motorized ground–penetrating radar (GPR) and magnetometer systems as well as novel post–processing software. The aim of this study was to test the suitability of these methods and the chosen approach to efficiently explore, investigate and document prehistoric settlements on a large scale under the prevalent environmental conditions in this part of Denmark. Over the course of five days of fieldwork, numerous structures of archaeological interest, such as the remains of longhouses, property boundaries, pathways, pit houses and other buried remains of the settlements, were detected and mapped. The combination of the data gathered by magnetic and GPR prospection with the already existing aerial imagery permitted an integrated archaeological interpretation, resulting in considerable new knowledge about the investigated sites. In this paper, we present the results obtained for the Viking Age settlement at Stadil Mølleby and a medieval village near Rysensten, both situated on sandy soils.

Archaeological Prospection