Geopark: The sailing barrage in Nakkebølle Fjord

Take a walk in the past

The area north of the embankment now houses a shallow inland lake formed as a result of a nature restoration project in 2003. The area receives water from a large part of South Fyn via the Hørup Å and Hundstrup Å stream system, which once also served as the main drainage course of the Late Weichselian glacial lake, Stenstrup Issø. Through the millennia, the river dales have functioned as passages from the coast into the land, so it is not surprising that we find considerable traces of settlements from all of the prehistoric periods.

At the end of the Roman Iron Age, something of great value and/or importance appeared somewhere in the area near the coast that also needed to be protected from enemies from the sea. Therefore, a pole barrier was constructed across the narrow fjord.

The wood of this barrage was dated using dendrochronological analysis to have been felled in 370 AD. The sailing barrier consists of a 20-metres-stretch of large logs. It is telling of its size that a private individual has removed over 120 logs from the construction and yet the archaeologists have been able to recognise the construction.

Sailing barrages indicate where the power was located. Indeed, such barrages are power. It requires that you have something to protect and a surplus of men and resources (wood). But they also show the existence of a time of unrest. Wealth and power could only be maintained by having military might and constructions for defence or attack. The barrage in Nakkebølle indicates that Nakkebølle Fjord during the Iron Age was an extraordinarily powerful place – likely the most important on South Fyn after Gudme. 

Over time, the place lost its military significance and the barrage went out of use. On the other hand, during the Middle Ages no less than three hillforts were constructed around the cove in addition to the current Nakkebølle estate.

In 1908 at the exact same place as the log barrage, a symbol of a new world view of nature was inaugurated, namely the very large Nakkebølle Sanatorium. Just like its sister institutions, the sanatorium was constructed here to make use of the beautiful nature and fresh air, particularly for the benefit of tuberculosis patients. The sanatorium was closed down in 1969 and during its time of operation a total of 13,905 patients passed through its doors.

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  • Geopark: The sailing barrage in Nakkebølle Fjord
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