ROOTS Participation at Øster Lem Hede – one of the Danish top 10 archaeological finds of 2021

ROOTS Participation at Øster Lem HedeExcavation of features (photo: ArkVest, Esben Schlosser Mauritsen).

The discovery of the 5000-year-old cult site of Øster Lem Hede is among the top ten Danish archaeological finds of 2021.

Ten years ago, archaeologists from Archaeologi Vestjylland discovered archaeological traces on Øster Lem Hede between Ringkøbing and Skjern. Research in 2021, conducted with ROOTS’ participation including coring and a geomagnetic survey (link), revealed a 5000-year-old cult site. The find is so unique that the Danish Agency for Cultural Heritage has named it one of the ten most spectacular archaeological finds of 2021.
In 2021, archaeologists from Archaeologi Vestjylland excavated the ridge on Øster Lem Hede, where a wide ditch with a low moat was observed years ago. In anticipation of excavating a fortified village, where Iron Age people settled in a time marked by conflict, it turned out that pieces of burnt flint axes from the Neolithic period (3500-2800 BC; i.e. about 3000 years older than expected) emerged from under the ground. Finds of this type are often evidence of cultic rituals, and where the moat was observed, a 2.5-metre deep ditchappeared. Pottery sherds dating to 2900-2800 BC were also identified.
Thanks to the support of the Danish Nature Agency, the municipality of Ringkøbing-Skjern and the Danish Agency for Cultural Heritage, permission was granted to carry out a detailed survey of a highly preserved area, where the moor is both a protected monument and a protected area. Here, archaeological traces are well-preserved and can be further explored in the future.  


More information on this annual prize (in Danish) can be found here: link
Joining from ROOTS: Anna K. Loy, Solveig Ketelsen, Henning Andresen, Laurenz Hillmann


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