Copenhagen harbour founded on old rubbish

Its foundation mainly consists of rubbish from the 1600s

Based on the excavations by a team of archaeologists digging out Copenhagen’s first harbour area in Gammel Strand, the harbour was founded on a pile of rubbish.

The archaeologists have been excavating the area for the past two months and have found centuries-old rubbish stemming from Copenhagen in the 1600s. Similar finds were made in Christianshavn and Slotsholmen.

In the 1680s the city harbour needed expanding, and so small wooden land excavation crates were filled up with household and construction rubbish that helped expand the wharf by eight metres over the following century.

“We’ve found all sorts of rubbish from Copenhageners in the excavation crates that give us an insight into their daily lives,” Stuart Whatley, the lead archaeologist, told Videnskab.dk.

“We’ve found shoes, clothing, glass bottles, various types of grain and animal bones, and ceramics from Denmark and other parts of Europe.”

READ MORE: Archaeologists make smelly discovery in Odense

Hoping for a ship
The excavation promises to yield even more interesting finds when it reaches the earth levels where more significant surprises might be uncovered.

“We hope to find a ship. That would be fantastic. But we also hope to find various trade goods that could have been lost and would give us an idea of which goods were traded in the Copenhagen harbour,” Camilla Haarby Hansen, the excavation's field leader, said.

The findings have thus far been well preserved because the earth is relatively oxygen-starved and has halted the decomposition process. Future finds are expected to be even better because the further down the excavators dig, the less oxygen there will be.

The archaeologists have until the end of June to finish excavating the 76m long and 6-12m wide plot.





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