1 Section for Prehistoric Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities, Aarhus University, Aarhus University
Nations are constructions. They are founded on generally accepted ideas that a certain group of people can claim their rights to a certain geographical area. These claims are often made with reference to history. The field of archaeology can play a significant role in this invention and reinvention of nation states because archaeology is based on the interpretation of often ambiguous prehistoric source material, and can therefore be easily adjusted to the intended story. This paper suggests that the main role of the prehistoric World Heritage site of Jelling in Denmark has been to invent and reinvent the myth of Denmark as a united, homogeneous, Christian kingdom that has existed for more than a thousand years, establishing an ideal frame for a national unity. Living in late-modern times with globalized identities, we might raise the question of whether the time has come for archaeologists to invent a new idea of Jelling and the Danish Kingdom?
Archaeological Review From Cambridge, 2009, Vol 24, Issue 1