Captivating Ladbyskibet (the Ladby Ship) is Denmark’s only known Viking Age ship grave. Around the year AD 925, a Viking chieftain was laid to rest in a splendid 21.5m warship, surrounded by weapons, jewellery, clothing and other fine possessions. Archaeologists have ascertained that not long after his burial the grave was plundered and the chieftain's body was removed. But what was left behind is still utterly intriguing. All the wooden planks from the ship decayed long ago, but left a perfect imprint of the hull moulded into the earth, along with 2000 rivets, an anchor, iron curls from the ship’s dragon-headed prow, and countless bones of sacrificed dogs and horses.
An explanatory museum, Vikingemuseet Ladby, displays finds from the grave and a reconstructed mock-up of the boat (complete with slaughtered animals) as it probably looked just before it was interred. But the site itself is the real attraction, the relics displayed in an eerie, dimly lit, airtight chamber beneath a turfed-over mound. Moored just beyond at a fjordside picnic site, a fully functioning reconstruction of the boat has been built by enthusiasts using Viking-era techniques.