The trebuchet at the Middle Ages Center
|Type||Open air museum|
|Location||Nykøbing Falster, Denmark|
Middelaldercentret, Ved Hamborgskoven 2, Sundby L. 4800 Nykøbing F.Denmark.
The Middelaldercentret (English: Middle Ages Centre) is an experimental living history museum in Denmark, which depicts the middle ages in the Denmark of the late 14th and early 15th centuries. It is located in Sundby Lolland, some 4 km northwest of the centre of Nykøbing Falster.
It features a village, boats, market, and siege weapons of the period such as a trebuchet and a ballista. All of the items are built on site using period tools. Activities include live firing of the weapons, archery, tournaments of knights, and demonstrations of crafts and tasks from the late 14th century.
The Middle Ages Center started with the reconstruction of a medieval siege weapon, called a trebuchet, built on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of Nykøbing Falster in 1989. The local museum reconstructed the trebuchet and the experiment ran for three weeks in which 15000-30000 people visited the site. After the massive interest the project "Medieval Technology Center" was conducted for two months in the summer of 1991. The project consisted of a series of workshops and a kitchen tent around trebuchet. As a private institution The Middle Ages Center was founded in 1992. Two years later, in 1994, a donation from Arbejdsmarkedets Feriefond (a non-profit foundation) made it possible to build an entire city with houses, tournament course, a harbour and a new entrance building. Since then, more houses have been, and one major news is carried out each year.
The Middle Ages Centre works with living history as a part of their concept and demonstrates a Danish market town in the period around the year 1400. The centre follows the current calendar but 610 offset - 2013 the year 1403 is depicted.
The Centre's work is based on very thorough research. The purpose of the work is partly dissemination, but also greatly research, especially in the form of so-called experimental archaeology where ancient tools and technology is reconstructed on the basis of extant sources and objects in exhibitions around the world, and then tested in practice.
Staff and volunteers are wearing the costumes, and live in the opening hours just as 610 years ago. Both volunteers and employees are thoroughly trained as to make sure that they are professionally equipped to assume the role of medieval man. Neither glasses nor piercings are allowed and the inhabitants don't know about mobile phones, TV or other modern things, as these are not a part of the concept.
The museum has a restaurant called The Golden Swann attached. It is furnished as a dining hall at a major Danish castle around 1400. It serves authentic medieval food by candlelight. The restaurant is independent but meets same requirements regarding authenticity as the rest of the centre.
Research and reconstructions
The centre was the first in the world to reconstruct an actual working trebuchet in 1989. Since then the centre has been hired to help building the trebuchet at Warwick Castle, Warwickshire, England which is the largest trebuchet in the world.
The centre participated in the third Galathea expedition (2006-2007) and researched both sulfur and salpeter in black powder production in Puducherry, India and transportation to Europe. Furthermore researches regarding textiles, winter habitation and manufacturing of medieval war machinery has been carried out. A conference about black powder manufacturing was held at Middelaldercentret in 2010.
Medieval reenactment groups from around the world visits center during the season. Since 2010, there has been held a week-long festival during the summer holidays, where international reenactment groups have been invited. As for these festivals the period there has been portrayed been extended to embrace wider. The international group Company of Saynt George, dealing with the years 1460-1490, has been a guest several times at these events.
As to the unique surroundings in the medieval town it has been used in several film footages for both national and international productions. Thus both National Geographic Channel has recorded a documentary about early inventions such as diving equipment and throwing machines and the Danish movie Vølvens Forbandelse and the German film 12 Paces Without a Head has scenes shot at the Centre.
- "Lidt historie" (in Danish). www.Middelaldercentret.dk. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- Schmidt, Anders Legarth (26/1 2006). "Jagt på krudt til perfekte våben". Politiken (in Danish). Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- "Reconstructing Medieval Artillery". http://archive.archaeology.org. June 14, 2005. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- "Becoming volunteer at the Medieval Centre". Middelaldercentret.dk. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- "Frivillig på feltet" (in Danish). Guldborgsundgildet.dk. Retrieved 2013-03-7.
- "En særlig formidlingsform: Vi er i Det Herrens År ..." (in Danish). Middelaldercentret.dk. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- "Are you in need of a refreshment". Middelaldercentret.dk. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- "The Warwick Trebuchet". warwicksiege.com. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- "About the centre". Middelaldercentret.dk. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- "Research and projects". Middelaldercentret.dk. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- "Trebuchet to Cannon: Military Technology 1000-1600". Middelaldercentret.dk. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- Drejer, Katja (19/4 2011). "Middelaldercenteret får en travl sæson". Folketidende (in Danish). Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- "Kirkebyggepladsen" (in Danish). Middelaldercentret.dk. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- "International Ridderfestival" (in Danish). www.middelaldercentret.dk. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
- "Introducing the Nykøbing Event". companie-of-st-george.ch. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- "- Det er kun dejligt" (in Danish). Folketidende. 10/8-2010. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- "Filmselskaber er vilde med middelalderen" (in Danish). Folketidende. 26/9-2008. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- Medieval Centre - official site in English