The Museums of Eastern Funen have just carried out a minor archaeological investigation just inside the Country Gate in Nyborg. The museum had been contacted by Nyborg Water and Sewer Dept., since an old water pipe from about 1900 needed to be replaced.
Roadway from 1550
The old road, found at the bottom of the dig area, could be dated to around 1550 judging by the potsherds and tiles found in the rubbish layer lying on the road. It was unfortunately not possible to see which way the road was oriented. It went, however, under the east-west oriented foundation, and therefore is older than the foundation. The foundation consists of big stones, about 30x40x40 cm., but unfortunately there are no preserved remains of bricks. The size of the foundation stones would namely indicate that the building must have been built of bricks.
Remains of a Nyborg toll house
The question of what building has been found can be answered by a map from about 1630 drawn by Frands de Traytorrens. He showed Nyborg during the time of King Christian IV. On the map and in the dig, just inside the arch of the Country Gate (which was built by King Christian III in the 1550’s), a smaller building can be seen. It is clear that the building is placed on the map exactly where the foundation has been revealed. The building was apparently removed only 30 years afterward, when Frederik III’s major fortification project was launched. There are several precisely drawn maps from this period, (ca. 1660) where the area just inside the Country Gate is empty.
In the picture, red lettering marks the “control house”, which can be seen just inside the Country Gate. The house can be dated to the period between 1550 and 1660.
The building is part of the fortress and the no-man’s land that lay just inside the ramparts, before people came into the town or the castle area. It was a kind of toll house and served the purpose of controlling which goods were brought into the town. The town had had a problem with provisions and agricultural products being smuggled into the town to be sold at market “without there being paid toll for it.”
A new piece of the puzzle
The little excavation has thus turned up another piece of the puzzle of the Nyborg fortifications’ history - a history that gets reinterpreted and expanded every time a spade digs into the soil of Nyborg.
Upper picture: In the picture, the preserved stone foundation can be seen, which lines up with the Country Gate.