Massive Medieval tower from 1100, comparative studies in settlement and society

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The massive round Bastrup stone tower from around 1100 AD in North Sjælland/Zealand, Denmark is seemingly the largest in Europe of its time. The diameter is 21m, the walls being 6m thick at the base. It is probably a royal foundation surrounded by forests and good agricultural soils; it is also at the cross-roads of the watersheds of the region. Furthermore, it may be the oldest surviving stone structure of the country, apart from some churches (and the much older Megalithic graves).

While farms and estates of the Bronze and Iron Ages, including the Viking Age, are archaeologically well known, this is not the case of the high and late Middle Ages. Thus, Bastrup is a prime point of departure for investigations into the archaeology of Medieval estates known merely from a few written sources.

At the same time, the social and cultural environment of Denmark, and in particular Sjælland, was international in outlook and aspirations with princes and clergy dominating all Northern Europe and well as being superbly informed about European and other affairs.