Johnny Grandjean Gøgsig Jakobsen

M.Sc. in History and Geography, University of Roskilde (RUC) 2004

List of my graduate projects at RUC (1999-2004)  


A presentation of the historiographic explanations of the geological creation of a rather special Danish hill-type, supplemented with the study groups own geo-electrical analyses of the layers beneath a so-called hat-shaped hill at Kundby, NW-Zealand. The investigations showed that at least this particular hat-shaped hill was not - as traditionally believed - situated on a moraine bench of till-clay, but on the contrary on a deep-going layer of sand, which points against most of the present theories. The main results were published in Geologisk Tidsskrift 2000:1.   (Link to list of articles).


A presentation of the term and tool G.I.S. (Geographical Information System), with a special focus on the use of G.I.S. in university education, and considerations on the processes of generalisation and vizualisation in present electronical cartography. As a part of the paper, the study group produced an introducing learning-material for the basic G.I.S.-course held at RUC.


An introduction to Danish history of agriculture, settlement and place-name research in Viking Age and high Middle Ages followed by a national G.I.S.-analysis of the soil conditions in the potential infield areas of two village-types, namely villages with Iron Age place-name types (-lev, -løse, -inge, -sted, and -hem) versus the Viking Age/high medieval thorpes (-thorp). It was found that the thorpes tended to be situated on more sandy soils than the old villages, just as they generally appeared secondary to the latter in regard of natural ressources. The paper was presented at the annual symposium of the Scandinavian Society of Name Research (NORNA) held in April 2002, and has formed basis for two articles; the basic idea of the study and the results are presented on a separate website.


A study of the self images and ideals of medieval monks and canon regulars, as they are expressed in the rules and especially in two monastic writings of twelfth- and thirteenth-century Denmark; the Cistercian Øm Chronicle and the letters of the Augustinian Abbot William of Æbelholt. From this report, a thematic presentation of Abbot Williams ideals was published as an article in Kirkehistoriske Samlinger 2001 (with an English abstract).


An attempt to analyse the Flemish national movement from the middle of the nineteenth century until today by a critical use of Eric Hobsbawms model of historical phases of nationalism. By using this phase-model, it was generally possible to get a better understanding of the separate phases of the development of The Flemish Movement. However, it was also my conclusion that Hobsbawm underestimated the importance of smaller European languages in the development of a national identity. Also it seems highly questionable whether his prognosis that nationalism would die out with the twentieth century will come true.


The second report in my series of agricultural-historical studies (both performed together with Peder Dam). The focus in this project was put on a possible change in the concept of land value, as it is expressed in the taxations of various types of soils and terrains on the Danish island of Falster from the high Middle Ages to the beginning of the nineteenth century. Among other things, the study indicated that the most loamy soil-types rose remarkably in taxation in the late Middle Ages, and that one should be careful to use, for instance, the taxations of the great Danish land register in 1688 for retrospective analysis in high medieval studies.


A presentation of the historical image of Scandinavia in the cartography of Antiquity and the Middle Ages followed up by a thorough analysis of three written descriptions of Scandinavia from the Viking Age and the high Middle Ages. In the analysis, several theories of explaining interpretations from twentieth-century historians are tested. The conclusion is, that the medieval Scandinavians most likely had a quite correct understanding of the Nordic geography, and that the often rather bizarre images of Scandinavia presented in maps of the Middle Ages can be explained by a combination of the facts that almost all of them were made by non-Scandinavians, and that they served a completely different purpose than the maps of present-day cartography.


A geographical survey of two wetland areas on the Danish island of Samsø called Besser Made and Stavns Made. Through the use of dikes and dams, the old wetland marshes and fiords have been reclaimed for agricultural purposes. Analyses of the soil conditions and present land use were performed to evaluate the agricultural value of the drained land. In the more historical part of the report, I tried to describe the different draining histories of the two areas, in which a number of contemporary letters and articles were used to give an idea of the thoughts on- and implementation of major Danish draining projects in the 1860-70s. This latter part of the project was published as an article in Århus Stifts Årbøger.


An investigation of the importance of settlement structure on the matter of high medieval church building and parish foundations, in the form of a geographical-statistical analysis of a number of topics related to churches and parishes in the district of Merløse Hundred on the Danish island of Zealand. In the report, several hypotheses on various matters concerning the organization and structure of high medieval Church of Denmark were tested together with a number of related old and new analysing methods.


In my master’s thesis it has been my goal to perform a statistic-geographical survey of agriculture and settlement structure in the north-western part of the Danish island of Zealand from c.1000 to 1688. On the land fertility part, I have compared the soil types and terrain conditions with settlement density through the period (as it is known through place-name studies), construction of rural parish churches (both the density, size and features of the churche buldings) and actual land taxations of various types, from c.1300 (tithe per parish), 1567 (number of tithe payers, decimantes, per parish), 1662 (type of tenant payment in kind), and 1688 (number of farms, size of cultivated area and size of taxation per village). My intention with all this has been to determine the economical importance of the geographical conditions; where did people want to live and how were various types of soil and terrain evaluated - and did this pattern change up through the period?

The second half of the project is focusing on that part of the settlement structure, which involves the perhaps most dominant settlement type in Denmark: the thorpes. The thorpes seem to have come into existence from c.900 to c.1300, perhaps with their main foundation period in the twelfth century. Traditionally, Danish thorpes are more or less identified with settlements with the place name suffix -thorp (nowadays changed into -rup, -strup, or -drup), and with the definition of the term mentioned in Danish laws of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, where the thorpes are described as hamlets founded by peasants of the old villages on the village land, or as new farmsteads in uncultivated wasteland. However, it seems as if the term has been used for various settlement types, and perhaps with a change meaning during the period. By comparing the results of the land fertility analysis with the allocation of both thorpes and settlements with Iron Age place-name types, it has been my hope to contribute to the increasing of our knowledge on where, how and perhaps even why the thorpes of NW-Zealand were founded. An abbreviated website version of my masters thesis in English is now available.




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