Rådhuspladsen, Copenhagen

Lea and Birgitte use trowel and total station to document Copenhagen’s former western gateway.

Its another typical day for the crew at Rådhuspladsen (Town Hall Square) in Copenhagen, where the Museum of Copenhagen ( has been conducting a major excavation since January 2011. Soon to be completed, the excavation – conducted in advance of the construction of a new Metro station – has seen remains of perhaps the earliest urban activity in this area, from the 1100s, as well as fragments of the city’s medieval and post-medieval western gates, city moat, bridge remains and a host of later archaeological structures including a seventeenth century mill building and even some World War 2 bomb shelters. Amazing organic preservation is one of the key features of the site, with textiles, leather shoes, book covers and a host of other everyday items from the late medieval and post-medieval periods surviving in excellent condition, particularly in the waterlogged moat deposits.

With barrow and shovel.

This site is one of four major excavations being carried out by the Museum of Copenhagen as part of the advance works of the new Metro City-Ring Project. The others included Kongens Nytorv (The Kings New Square) where the city’s eastern defences and former gate structures were revealed, Assistens Kirkegard cemetery excavation, and the ongoing excavation at Gammel Strand (Old Beach) where part of the citys old harbour area is being uncovered.

Break Time

The crew enjoying a well earned morning coffee at 9 – work starts at 7 a.m.

With a crew of c.40, this is one of the largest archaeological excavation projects carried out in Denmark to date, and has seen the Museum of Copenhagen expand its archaeology section greatly, with the assembly of an international crew including English, Swedish, Norwegians, Polish and Irish members to compliment the Danish core. By the time all of the excavations have been completed in 2013, a wealth of new knowledge about the birth and growth of Copenhagen will have been gained. In the meantime, information about the ongoing excavations are being shared with the public on a regular basis on the museum’s interactive website