Lejre is the name of a small village some ten kilometres southwest of Roskilde on the Island of Sealand The small settlement played an important part in the cycle of legends around the oldest Danish history. Saxo Grammaticus and Sven Aggesen, both Danish mediaeval chroniclers, as well as the Norse sagas placed the residence of the oldest Danish royal house, the Scyldings, here.
However, most of these traditions have been rejected by recent critical research as mere legends. It has been proved that Saxo Grammaticus and his contemporaries to a great extent built their accounts upon common migratory legends, among which the Old English poem Beowulf plays a central part. A couple of Danish and foreign sources which name Lejre remain. It is however impossible to deduce the function of the settlement from these sources.
Scientific archaeological investigations were started around the area after the Second World War and the results, especially those of recent years, presented in this book, have once more stirred up the discussion concerning the importance of Lejre during the late Iron Age and Viking Age.
From the north coast of Sealand the two inlets Isefjord and Roskilde Fjord cut their way approximately forty kilometres towards the south into the central part of the island. Lejre is situated five kilometres south of the bottom of Roskilde Fjord at a place where a System of larger and smaller streams meet, and later divide into the two streams Lejre Å and Kornerup Å, both of them flowing into Roskilde Fjord to the north. The locality lies topographically on the boundary between the fertile plain “Heden” in the eastern part of Sealand, situated between Copenhagen, Køge, and Roskilde and the rather inaccessible woodland and commons to the west.