The Sjelbro Stone

North of the river – in the meadow west of the turnpike is an upright stone. It can easily be seen from the road, and on closer inspection found a carved, troll-like mask image with braided beard on tile north side. The stone is called a stone image and originates from the Viking period around the year 1000. Unlike the Viking Age rune stones, often moved from their original location to the particular churches, is Sjelbro Stone in its original place where it has marked a transition along an old wooden bridge Alling River.

The Sjelbro stone was found in 1951, when it stood with the mask image down on the same site. Here it had lain in "living memory" until the meadow then owner Aage Sorensen called the National Museum. He had found strange lines on the stone, which proved to be magic picture and found also the starting point for the subsequent archaeological digs in the meadow around the stone, which was at least 4 very well-preserved ancient road layouts.

But later other roads are also seen on the ground in the form of elevated, now grassy, road embankment between the rock and today’s high road embankment, which both sides are looking forward to the concrete bridge. On road embankment near the road today is known that it was superfluous, since it around. 100 years ago converted the road to its current location. When in 1928 the last remnants of the road, was found a brass plate with King Christian IV’s name on a row, so this path has probably been in use in his reign between 1588 and 1648.
The now disused Sjelbro inn north of the river – which is now converted into school – has for centuries been strategically through this transition over Alling River. Here was both stable and Pub, and here was the familiar Sjelbro market held 4 times a year until the early 1920s, where people from near and far flocked to the contrary in the days when there was life and commerce on the spot.

The 4 "ancient roads, which hides under the meadow, is only approx. ½ m below the turf. At the top are two very well-preserved plank roads in oak. Of excavation photograph shows the wooden roads unique preservation conditions clearly. In the humid soil preserved wood much better than on dry land. Viking plank roads are built of heavy oak planks cutted and put across the direction of travel on a solid longitudinal wooden frame and supported by wooden poles rammed. A trench through the Viking age old bed of the river was also interesting. Besides a variety of wood by partially indeterminate nature, were piles remaining from an apparent bridge, belonging to the two plank roads which excavators presume are temporally close together in the late Viking Age. The old stream was also observed traces of some other plank roads, so the two could be recognized in the country is hardly alone. When these roads were of use is not known. The plank roads and bridges were maintenance-intensive and had a relatively short life. From complaints and returns in historic times we know that the wooden bridge are often due as much to it again became necessary to cross the river by an often perilous ford.

During the two plank roads on land were two additional lanes which consequently are older. It was paved roads, brought in a layer of branches and logs and lined with large field stones. These roads have probably been in a ford over the stream. Based on road-building dated to the early Iron Age around the year 0 Similar paved ancient roads can be viewed by Borremose fort in Himmerland, and ancient roads by Tibirke and Broskov on Zealand.
In Viking times it may be assumed that the mask image of the Sjellebro Stone was painted. The strange magic figure with large eyes and nose and braided beard may have reminded the traveler on Aamand which legend says prevailed in the watercourse. He required each year a human sacrifice, and it is said that once he had not been this satisfied in 6 years, after which he was the 7th years took all seven people in a car which was crossing the creek. Former Prosecutor now deceased antiquarian P.V. Glob has presented the theory that the mask image on Sjelbro stone would protect travelers against this monster to frighten with his hideous appearance, or by paralyzing him because the image imagined himself.
Mask image is in the Viking Age called Mammenstile. Similar images familiar from 3 Danish rune stones from the Viking age and the future ties slung ornamentation in general – but only Sjelbro stone is without runic inscriptions. From the Old Danish territory in Skaane known 4 mesh stone, one of which, however, is without runes like Sjelbro stone. Of the Danish stone mask is the most famous Aarhus Runestone . It is at Moesgaard Museum, and the mask was the museum’s logo.

Sjelbro-road remains a major archaeological resource and an interesting target for future studies. With today’s options for dating belts with the rings of wood (known dendrochronological dating) is the tree from the oldest of svellevejene been dated to 752 AD, which is not quite fit with the assumption that the two svelleveje should be nearly level old. The excavations in the 1950s had a goal today after a rather limited extent. An extension of the diggins can certainly provide many interesting facts which should be assessed in conjunction with the local area’s other findings.

Sjelbro crossing over Alling river has so deep historical roots, and maybe trade on the spot also roots back in Viking times. The road – especially north of Sjelbro – previously had a different course. On the Scientific Society map from 1791 can be seen clearly that the road then went over Hørning approx. 2 km NV. for Sjelbro. In 1960, when excavations under the present church found a church from the Viking period around the year 1000 When the church is also excavated a burial mound – "Hørning Grave" – which contained a burial chamber with one of the richest women’s graves we know from the Danish Vikings. The woman was wearing a stunning dress with sølvindvirkede tape and acknowledged rich grave goods – including it is the oldest known wooden table we have in Scandinavia and a prestigious wash basin in bronze. Stave church from Hørning has since been reconstructed at the Moesgaard Museum.

(From Danske Fortidsminder)



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