The White Virgin and the Bear to be investigated

05. August 2015 | Nyborg Castle

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 On Monday, June 22 the Museums of Eastern Funen will begin an archaeological investigation of The White Virgin and of the Bear, both parts of the Nyborg ramparts. The Bear, which is actually a stone dam, was built between 1660 and 1665 in connection with the comprehensive fortification around the town of Nyborg and the castle. The water in the moats had been at 4 m. over sea level ever since the castle was built around 1200. The medieval dam was replaced when the fortifications were greatly expanded by a long, narrow dam built of stone blocks on the outer side of King’s Bastion Street. Its purpose was to make sure the water in the moats didn’t flow out into the fjord. On top of the Bear, a tiled, gable roof was built, in the middle of which the so-called White Virgin was built. The Virgin is a conical, tower-like construction that prevented traffic over the Bear. The name refers to a legend about a young girl who was imprisoned in the tower, bricked in.

The Nyborg Fortifications Foundation wants to get an evaluation of the condition of the crest of dam, and to ascertain whether the stone sides of the construction are still intact, in preparation for future restoration work on the Bear and the Virgin. They appear today as an almost inexplicable construction, and the only educational explanation is an old sign next to the Virgin. The construction is, however, crucial for our understanding of not only the royal fortifications, but of the whole history of Nyborg and its castle. This is the place where you can see and understand the enormous construction that has, since the Middle Ages, controlled the flow of water to and around Nyborg, defined the appearance of the town and still assures that there is water in the moats around the town.

Restoration of the Bear and the White Virgin, complemented with new educational material, will therefore markedly strengthen the story about Nyborg; not alone the history of the fortifications, but the whole ramparts’ and moats’ history since their establishment in the Middle Ages, until today.

The excavation will be undertaken by archaeologist Claus Sørensen, a curator at the Museums of Eastern Funen, and is planned to take about 3 days.

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