Trelleborg Viking Fortress
The Trelleborg Viking Fortress is located a few kilometers West of the town of Slagelse on the West side of the island of Zealand. It is located on a peninsula at the confluence of the Tude River and the Vårby River, with the rivers covering two thirds of the fortress circumference.
Using the dendrochronological method - comparing the tree rings in the wood used in the construction - it has been determined that the trees used to build the Trelleborg Viking Fortress were felled between 980 and 981 AD, setting the time of construction at that time.
This model of the Trelleborg Viking Fortress gives a good overview of its layout, with the living quarters inside the walls and the 15 workshops/stables between the inner and outer walls. The square behind the two houses at the back was the cemetary. North on the model is to the left. The fortress would probably house a skeleton crew most of the time, maintaining the fortress between the times when it was needed for military maneuvers or times of war.
The diameter of the Trelleborg Viking Fortress is 180 meters. The inner wall is 17 meters wide and 5 meters high. Trelleborg is the only Danish viking fortress with an outer wall. The fortress covers 15 acres of land.
The fortress has two paths made of oak timber crossing at the middle which function as the main roads of the fortress and divide it up into 4 sections of equal size. All four entrances into the fortress were covered, and arrowheads and scorch marks on the timber found at the gates tell of attacks on the fortress.
This is how the outer covering of the earth wall looked like - rough wooden planks completely covering the earth core of the walls. When Trelleborg Viking Fortress was built, it is assumed that about half the oak timber available on all of the island of Zealand was used in the construction.
The pole positions inside the fortress have had a concrete cap put on them to illustrate the size and outline of each house. Based on the number and size of the houses, the Trelleborg Viking Fortress is expected to have been able to house between 500 and 800 vikings, which was a formidable number at the time.
A reconstruction of one of the 16 houses from inside the fortress has been built outside the fortress area, next to the path from the Trelleborg Museum to the Trelleborg Viking Fortress. A viking house had one main room and a small room at each end of the house. It would house between 30 and 50 people - men, women, children, servants and slaves together. There was a fireplace at the middle of the house where food was prepared, and a seating/sleeping bench or "communal bed" along the entire length of the large main room on both sides. Privacy was not really an option.