The Hunter-gatherer Stone Age
In the Hunter-gatherer Stone Age people survived on fishing and hunting along Roskilde Fjord, leaving behind ancient shell mounds that remain along the fjord.
The Neolithic Age
Burial mounds with round and long barrows were erected in the Neolithic Age. At GL. Lejre you can find Harald Wartooth’s mound, a long barrow, dating back to 3500 BC.
The Bronze Age
Among the impressive mounds from the Bronze Age is Kongehøj on the gravel road leading to the Bognæs peninsula. A skeleton in a stone coffin, a bronze sword and 2 bronze knives have been excavated at this site.
The Iron Age
There are various Iron Age mounds, such as Grydehøj in Gl. Lejre, where excavations have uncovered the remains of a cremation structure used in funeral rites as well as gold threads from a chieftain’s burial garments.
The Viking Age
Traces of the Vikings abound in the park, for example the 83-meter long Stone Ship in Gl. Lejre, a gravesite made of large pointed stones in the shape of a ship, presumably to sail the dead to the afterlife.
The unexcavated Viking halls west of Gl. Lejre are among the largest buildings from Danish antiquity, the longest being 62 meters in length. The halls were used for celebrations and ceremonies. At Sagnlandet - Land of the Legends you can experience a reconstruction.
The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde displays 5 legendary Viking ships found near the village of Skuldelev that were sunk to the bottom of Roskilde Fjord around the year 1060 to block a channel.
The Middle Ages
Churches and monasteries from the Middle Ages have also left their mark on the landscape. The frescos, architecture and craftsmanship evident in every village church bear witness to the medieval mindset.
The island of Eskilsø boasts the ruins of a monastery church from the 12th century built from limestone found in quarries in the area.
In the town of Roskilde, Bishop Absalon commenced construction of Roskilde Cathedral in 1170, which went on for the next one-hundred years.
Aristocratic rule and absolute monarchy
The national park has 6 manor estates with stately homes, avenues, mills and tenant farms from the era of aristocratic rule and the absolute monarchy.
Selsø Castle, Aastrup Abbey, Lindholm Manor Estate, Sonnerupgaard Manor Estate, Ledreborg Palace and Skullerupholm were built between 1570 and 1750 – often on top of ramparts from the Middle Ages – and form part of Denmark’s largest protected area for estates.
The national park also covers an area with remnants from the earliest stages of democracy, the cooperative movement and industrialisation.
At Herthadalen, in the forests near Ledreborg Palace, constitutional and public meetings attended by thousands were held from 1854 to 1940.
In 2022, a modern outdoor artwork was created here with reference to the first Danish Constitutional Act Meeting held in 1854. Find the artwork on your walk along the Skjoldunge hiking path.