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Hemdrup Staven

In August 1949, the Hemdrup staff was found during peat excavation in Skarp Salling parish, east of Hemdrup. The find quickly caught the attention of professionals and was soon presented at an archaeological conference at the Moesgaard Museum.

The staff is 50 cm long and thickest at one end. Although the type of wood is not precisely determined, it is estimated to be of yew wood. It is dated to the 9th century and is adorned with runes and various figures of humans and animals, along with various symbols.

Over the years, experts have put forward several theories about the staff's use, including as a shepherd's staff, messenger's staff, and even as Denmark's oldest love poem. However, the most likely theory is that the staff was part of Viking Age beliefs and rituals, specifically used in a magical, medicinal ritual to capture and combat disease demons. In Norse mythology, the practice of magic, known as seidr, was common. The staff was likely used by a seer, a witch, or a shaman with special status in society. These individuals, often women, were called volvas.

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