Kongens Nytorv-udgravningen

At Kongens Nytorv remains of the fortifications built by Christian the 4th was excavated

Excavations were carried out from Januar 2010 till September 2011 and again from Januar 2012 till June 2012.

From suburb to city centre

Today, Kongens Nytorv is one of the largest and most centrally located squares in Copenhagen, with streets radiating out in all directions towards every corner of the city. Built at the close of the 17th century, it was surrounded by palaces. A statue of the man who designed the layout of the square - King Christian the 5th (1670-1699) - is still to be found standing in the middle of the square encircled by trees.

Yet, approximately 300 years ago, when Kongens Nytorv was laid out, the square was placed in the furthermost eastern outskirts of the town, amidst grassy areas and streets close to the town-wall, moat and Østerport. At that point in history, Østerport was a defence tower marking one of the most important entrances to Copenhagen. However, we still know very little about what existed beyond the ramparts at that point in history.

Settlements from the Viking Era

This is not the first time that The Museum of Copenhagen has ripped the paving open and dug into the cultural layers that exist beneath Kongens Nytorv. In connection with the construction of the metro during the 1990s, the museum carried out a large-scale excavation that led to the unearthing of many spectacular finds. The 1990s excavation unearthed traces of settlement all the way back to the Viking Era at this location. The archaeologists found remains of the town wall and moat that could be dated as belonging to different historical periods.

Copenhagen's easterly neighbourhoods

The current excavations will, therefore, provide us with a completely unique opportunity to gain an understanding of the composition of Copenhagen's most easterly neighbourhoods and streets. They will almost certainly also provide us with new information regarding the old town-wall, moats and fortifications. In addition, the metro company's re-laying of cables will also provide the museum with an opportunity to investigate what took place outside the town limits.

All in all, the current archaeological excavations at Kongens Nytorv will provide us with a very unique opportunity to investigate and document, the ways in which this area was implemented in pre-historic times, and help us answer key questions such as whether or not the coastal position was important to prehistoric man or how Copenhagen developed from a small Medieval town to the metropolis it is today?