Each year towards the end of term, Grade 6 students journey to Denmark where they travel back in time to experience Sagnlandet Lejre (Land of Legends), an amazing historic landscape with different eras of human history. Each day for three days, the students were divided into three groups, each assigned to a particular era. They visited the Iron Age, the Viking Age and a 19th-century smallholder’s homestead all set-up exactly as they were in their time.
In the Iron Age (200 BC to 200 AD), the students elected their own chief to lead them towards a village where they met with the chief and his wife. They learnt the etiquette of visiting and receiving guests, how to gather herbs, make soft cheese, chop up vegetables, cut meat, cook over an open fire in a thatched smoky hut and also learnt how weapons and work tools were made. They then walked to the Sacrificial Bog and made their offerings to the gods.
After lunch, the Chief demonstrated the art of war as a mercenary returning from fighting with the Romans and also showed the students his huge collection of weapons.
The Viking Age (900 AD) was a favourite of many students. A Viking man and wife welcomed students to a large tented camp with a wide-open outdoor fire. The wife taught students how to prepare a lunch of meat, vegetables and flatbread while the man taught them how to smelt pewter into jewellery and demonstrated his working day as a smith. The students also learnt how to make war formations, defence mechanisms and the Viking art of war.
The life in a smallholder’s home of the 1850s was shown by a man and his wife who demonstrated the hardships a common human being would have experienced at the time. They both taught students how to feed farm animals, cut grass using a scythe, chop wood, make wooden tools with crude machinery, fetch and carry water in wooden pails as well as cook a simple meal of bread and herbal cheese.
In all the eras, the students demonstrated keen interest with full participation and had hands-on experience, including wearing period costumes. The Sagnlandet Lejre is highly recommended for anyone who loves the outdoors, history, storytelling, tool making or for people who want to relive the ancient eras. They are able to accommodate schools, families and individuals and are continually growing as an archaeological centre. Next year, the great Viking hall under construction will be complete and the next grade 6 students will get to experience a Viking King and Queen holding court.
Every evening, students had a well-deserved playtime at the swimming pool and hostel playground and were treated to delicious full course meals cooked by a great team at the Danhostel Køge. Much appreciation goes to Trip Leader, Ms Ellie Ellermann, Ms Leah Ottoweil, Mr David Ezzard, Mr Des O’Sullivan, Mr Giacomo Ottoweil and Ms Njoki Gülzow - ISH staff team.