Or was it a tragic accident, in which forty people and at least 19 horses, sheep and cows lost their lives 2000 years ago in a fire on a farm near Aalborg?
You will find the solution to this mystery, when you visit the new exhibition building at the Lindholm Høje Museum. By means of words, pictures, text and lighting effects, you will hear the story of the tragic farm fire at Nørre Tranders near Aalborg.
The site of the fire was discovered during an archaeological dig in 2000/2001. The archaeologists immediately concluded that they were faced with a murder. Many years ago some criminals had slaughtered the inhabitants of the farm and subsequently set fire to all the buildings.
But after they had investigated the crime scene, fire technicians and forensic scientists said “No”. The fire was the result of an accident.
At first, there was not much material for investigation. Foundations were visible, indicating the ground plan of the building. Other remains included human and animal bones scattered all over the place, fragments of clay vessels and carbonised pieces of wood.
Nonetheless, these remains were sufficient for archaeologists, fire technicians and forensic scientists, all using their particular areas of expertise, to reconstruct the tragic events of more than 2000 years ago.
We are in a typical Iron Age long house, divided into two: one end a dwelling, the other a stable. It was March or April. This we can tell from the pregnant sheep that perished in the fire.
The fire broke out in the residential area, where flames from the scene of the fire ignited the roof. The fire quickly spread to the stable, where the animals panicked. Three youths and one adult ran into the stable to release the cows and horses. They also attempted to direct the animals out but in vain.
It was in this inferno of smoke, insufferable heat and bellowing animals, rushing around in a state of wild confusion, that both animals and humans met their maker.
But what was it that ruled out murder? For one thing, the dead humans discovered in the stable in their attempt to rescue the animals. Had it been murder, they would have been found in the dwelling area. Investigation of the dead humans also revealed that they were lying on their stomachs, one with an arm under their forehead. They had tried to avoid the smoke in the stable by lying down on the ground.
The Nørre Tranders tragedy is just one of the ancient stories brought to life for visitors to the new exhibition building at Lindholm Høje, opened by Queen Margrethe in Autumn 2008. In addition to the exhibition area, an auditorium and activity room also serve to bring Aalborg’s history to life.
Visitors can also take to sea in a Viking ship. Well, al least in a 3D animated installation, which provides an impression of what it was like to sail on the Limfjord in a Viking ship.
Did people drink beer in the olden days? They most certainly did!
What did it taste like? This you can get an idea of, when you visit the museum at Lindholm Høje.
This new beer with the ancient recipe is brewed at Søgaard’s Bryghus in Aalborg and was served for the very first time at the inauguration of the new exhibition building in 2008.
But there are other goodies available too. Lindholm Høje also has a café, serving contemporary drinks and really tasty food. The café also affords a beautiful view out over the Limfjord.
Lindholm Høje Café...