The Rådhuspladsen excavations

The excavations at Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square) was carried out from 2011 to 2012 and employed more than 30 archaeologists

Rådhuspladsen is one of the most important public spaces in present-day Copenhagen, and yet the traces of an entirely different Copenhagen are hidden under its paving. In August 2012, the archaeologists closed the excavations at Rådhuspladsen and began working on analyses and report writing. The main part of that work was completed in September 2015, with the Rådhuspladsen excavation report finalised and made available to the public, along with all the associated specialist results.

Rådhuspladen in former times

Up until the 19th century the area surrounding Rådhuspladsen comprised the town's most westerly district. Copenhagen's early fortifications and moat were located in this area, along with the town's western gate - Vesterport. With the Cityring Metro excavations, the Museum of Copenhagen had a chance to unearth new information regarding this neighbourhood, and much new evidence has come to light, painting a new picture of how this part of the city developed, from as early as c. A.D. 1050. 

An early medieval burial ground and much evidence for settlement from this period were encountered under the surface of the square, and many parts of the medieval and post-medieval city fortifications were also unearthed. Further discoveries included a water mill from c. A.D. 1600, and layers of urban refuse from the 1600s containing vast amounts of cultural material (pottery, glass, metal finds, textiles, leather objects etc). Finally, a number of air-raid shelters from the 1940s were also documented.The results of the archaeological excavation have exceeded expectation and provided a wealth of new evidence for the development of the city's western parts. Taken in conjunction with the evidence from the Metro excavations at Kongens Nytorv and Gammel Strand (reports forthcoming), and a new more detailed understanding of Copenhagen's origins and development is truly possible.

Excavations at Rådhuspladsen took place from February 2011 till August 2012.

VIDEO: Excavation leader Hanna Dahlström tells about finds from the excavations (in Swedish).