|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
Reconstructed houses in the area of the old settlement
|Location||Busdorf, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany|
|Part of||Archaeological Border Complex of Hedeby and the Danevirke|
|Criteria||Cultural: (iii), (iv)|
|Inscription||2018 (42nd session)|
Hedeby (Danish pronunciation: [ˈhe̝ːðəˌpyˀ] , Old Norse Heiðabýr, German Haithabu) was an important Danish Viking Age (8th to the 11th centuries) trading settlement near the southern end of the Jutland Peninsula, now in the Schleswig-Flensburg district of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is the most important archaeological site in Schleswig-Holstein. Around 965, chronicler Abraham ben Jacob visited Hedeby and described it as, "a very large city at the very end of the world's ocean."
The settlement developed as a trading centre at the head of a narrow, navigable inlet known as the Schlei, which connects to the Baltic Sea. The location was favorable because there is a short portage of less than 15 km to the Treene River, which flows into the Eider with its North Sea estuary, making it a convenient place where goods and ships could be pulled on a corduroy road overland for an almost uninterrupted seaway between the Baltic and the North Sea and avoid a dangerous and time-consuming circumnavigation of Jutland, providing Hedeby with a role similar to later Lübeck. Hedeby was the second largest Nordic town during the Viking Age, after Uppåkra in present-day southern Sweden, The city of Schleswig was later founded on the other side of the Schlei. Hedeby was abandoned after its destruction in 1066.
Hedeby was rediscovered in the late 19th century and excavations began in 1900. The Hedeby Museum was opened next to the site in 1985.
Hedeby is mentioned in Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, "The Marsh King's Daughter."
The Old Norse name Heiða-býr simply translates to "heath-settlement" (heiðr "heath" and býr = "yard; settlement, village, town"). The name is recorded in numerous spelling variants.
Sources from the 9th and 10th century AD also attest to the names Sliesthorp and Sliaswich (cf. -thorp vs. -wich ), and the town of Schleswig still exists 3 km north of Hedeby. However, Æthelweard claimed in his Latin translation of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that the Saxons used Slesuuic and the Danes Haithaby to refer to the same town.
Hedeby is first mentioned in the Frankish chronicles of Einhard (804) who was in the service of Charlemagne, but was probably founded around 770.[ citation needed ] In 808 the Danish king Godfred (Lat. Godofredus) destroyed a competing Slav trade centre named Reric, and it is recorded in the Frankish chronicles that he moved the merchants from there to Hedeby. This may have provided the initial impetus for the town to develop. The same sources record that Godfred strengthened the Danevirke, an earthen wall that stretched across the south of the Jutland peninsula. The Danevirke joined the defensive walls of Hedeby to form an east–west barrier across the peninsula, from the marshes in the west to the Schlei inlet leading into the Baltic in the east.
The town itself was surrounded on its three landward sides (north, west, and south) by earthworks. At the end of the 9th century the northern and southern parts of the town were abandoned for the central section. Later a 9-metre (29-ft) high semi-circular wall was erected to guard the western approaches to the town. On the eastern side, the town was bordered by the innermost part of the Schlei inlet and the bay of Haddebyer Noor.
|based on Elsner|
|793||Viking raid on Lindisfarne - traditional date for the beginning of the Viking Age.|
|804||First mention of Hedeby|
|808||Destruction of Reric and migration of tradespeople to Hedeby|
|c. 850||Construction of a church at Hedeby|
|886||The Danelaw is established in England, following Viking invasion|
|911||The Vikings settle in Normandy|
|948||Hedeby becomes a bishopric|
|965||Visit of Al-Tartushi to Hedeby|
|974||Hedeby falls to the Holy Roman Empire|
|983||Hedeby returns to Danish control|
|c. 1000||The Viking Leif Erikson explores Vinland, probably in Newfoundland|
|1016-1042||Danish kings rule in England|
|1050||The Norwegian King Harald Hardrada destroys Hedeby|
|1066||Final destruction of Hedeby by a Slavic army.|
|1066||Traditional end of the Viking Age|
Hedeby became a principal marketplace because of its geographical location on the major trade routes between the Frankish Empire and Scandinavia (north-south), and between the Baltic and the North Sea (east-west). Between 800 and 1000 the growing economic power of the Vikings led to its dramatic expansion as a major trading centre. Along with Birka and Schleswig, Hedeby's prominence as a major international trading hub served as a foundation of the Hanseatic League that would emerge by the 12th century.
The following indicate the importance achieved by the town:
A Swedish dynasty founded by Olof the Brash is said to have ruled Hedeby during the last decades of the 9th century and the first part of the 10th century. This was told to Adam of Bremen by the Danish king Sweyn Estridsson, and it is supported by three runestones found in Denmark. Two of them were raised by the mother of Olof's grandson Sigtrygg Gnupasson. The third runestone, discovered in 1796, is from Hedeby, the Stone of Eric (Swedish : Erikstenen). It is inscribed with Norwegian-Swedish runes. It is, however, possible that Danes also occasionally wrote with this version of the younger futhark.
Life was short and crowded in Hedeby. The small houses were clustered tightly together in a grid, with the east–west streets leading down to jetties in the harbour. People rarely lived beyond 30 or 40, and archaeological research shows that their later years were often painful due to crippling diseases such as tuberculosis.
Al-Tartushi, a late 10th-century traveller from al-Andalus, provides one of the most colourful and often quoted descriptions of life in Hedeby. Al-Tartushi was from Cordoba in Spain, which had a significantly more wealthy and comfortable lifestyle than Hedeby. While Hedeby may have been significant by Scandinavian standards, Al-Tartushi was unimpressed:
The town was sacked in 1050 by King Harald Hardrada of Norway during a conflict with King Sweyn II of Denmark. He set the town on fire by sending several burning ships into the harbour, the charred remains of which were found at the bottom of the Schlei during recent excavations. A Norwegian skald , quoted by Snorri Sturluson, describes the sack as follows:
In 1066 the town was sacked and burned by West Slavs.Following the destruction, Hedeby was slowly abandoned. People moved across the Schlei inlet, which separates the two peninsulas of Angeln and Schwansen, and founded the town of Schleswig.
After the settlement was abandoned, rising waters contributed to the complete disappearance of all visible structures on the site. It was even forgotten where the settlement had been. This proved to be fortunate for later archaeological work at the site.
Archaeological work began at the site in 1900 after the rediscovery of the settlement. Excavations were conducted for the next 15 years. Further excavations were carried out between 1930 and 1939. Archaeological work on the site was productive for two main reasons: that the site had never been built on since its destruction some 840 years earlier, and that the permanently waterlogged ground had preserved wood and other perishable materials. After the Second World War, in 1959, archaeological work was started again and has continued intermittently ever since. The embankments surrounding the settlement were excavated, and the harbour was partially dredged, during which the wreck of a Viking ship was discovered. Despite all this work, only 5% of the settlement (and only 1% of the harbour) has as yet been investigated.
The most important finds resulting from the excavations are now on display in the adjoining Haithabu Museum.
In 2005 an ambitious archaeological reconstruction program was initiated on the original site. Based on the results of archaeological analyses, exact copies of some of the original Viking houses have been rebuilt.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Haithabu .|
Birkalisten (help·info), on the island of Björkö in present-day Sweden, was an important Viking Age trading center which handled goods from Scandinavia and Finland as well as Central and Eastern Europe and the Orient. Björkö is located in Lake Mälaren, 30 kilometers west of contemporary Stockholm, in the municipality of Ekerö.
Truso was a Medieval Old Prussian town and trading center at the banks of the Nogat delta branch of the Vistula River, close to a bay, where it emptied into the shallow and brackish Vistula Lagoon. This sizeable lagoon is separated from the Gdańsk Bay by the Vistula Spit at the southern Baltic Sea coast. In the 9th century, the merchant Wulfstan of Hedeby travelled to Truso in the service of the English King Alfred the Great and wrote his account of the place at a prominent location of the Amber Road, which attracted merchants from central and southern Europe, who supplied the markets in the Mediterranean and the Middle East with the highly valued commodity.
Vikings were the seafaring Norse people from southern Scandinavia who from the late 8th to late 11th centuries raided, pirated, traded and settled throughout parts of Europe. They explored both westward to England, Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland as well as eastward and southward through Russia to Constantinople, Iran, and Arabia. In the countries they raided and settled, the period is known as the Viking Age, and the term 'Viking' also commonly includes the inhabitants of the Norse homelands. The Vikings had a profound impact on the early medieval history of Scandinavia, the British Isles, France, Estonia, and Kievan Rus'.
Wulfstan of Hedeby was a late ninth century traveller and trader. His travel accounts, as well as those of another trader, Ohthere of Hålogaland, were included in Alfred the Great's translation of Orosius' Histories. It is unclear if Wulfstan was English or indeed if he was from Hedeby, in today's northern Germany near the city of Schleswig.
Schleswig is a town in the northeastern part of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is the capital of the Kreis (district) Schleswig-Flensburg. It has a population of about 27,000, the main industries being leather and food processing. It takes its name from the Schlei, an inlet of the Baltic sea at the end of which it sits, and vik or vig which means "bay" in Old Norse and Danish. Schleswig or Slesvig therefore means "bay of the Schlei".
Schleswig-Flensburg is a district in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is bounded by the districts of Rendsburg-Eckernförde, Dithmarschen and Nordfriesland, the Region Syddanmark in Denmark, the city of Flensburg and the Baltic Sea.
The Schlei is a narrow inlet of the Baltic Sea in Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany. It stretches for approximately 20 miles from the Baltic near Kappeln and Arnis to the city of Schleswig. Along the Schlei are many small bays and swamps. It separates the Angeln peninsula to the north from the Schwansen peninsula to the south.
Dorestad was an early medieval emporium, located in the southeast of the province of Utrecht in the Netherlands, close to the modern-day town of Wijk bij Duurstede. It flourished during the 8th to early 9th centuries, as an important port on the northeastern shipping routes due to its proximity to the fork in the Rhine, with access to Germany via the Nederrijn, to the southern Netherlands, northern France, and England, and to the northern Netherlands, northern Germany, and Scandinavia.
Anglia is a small peninsula within the larger Jutland (Cimbric) Peninsula in the region of Southern Schleswig, which constitutes the northern part of the northernmost German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, protruding into the Bay of Kiel of the Baltic Sea.
The Danes were a North Germanic tribe inhabiting southern Scandinavia, including the area now comprising Denmark proper, and the Scanian provinces of modern-day southern Sweden, during the Nordic Iron Age and the Viking Age. They founded what became the Kingdom of Denmark. The name of their realm is believed to mean "Danish March", viz. "the march of the Danes", in Old Norse, referring to their southern border zone between the Eider and Schlei rivers, known as the Danevirke.
The Danevirke or Danework is a system of Danish fortifications in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. This historically important linear defensive earthwork across the neck of the Cimbrian peninsula was initiated by the Danes in the Nordic Iron Age about AD 650. It was later expanded multiple times during Denmark's Viking Age and High Middle Ages. The Danevirke was last used for military purposes in 1864 during the Second War of Schleswig.
Reric or Rerik was one of the Viking Age multi-ethnic Slavic-Scandinavian emporia on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, located near Wismar in the present-day German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Reric was built around 700, when Slavs of the Obodrite tribe settled the region. At the turn of the 9th century, the citizens of Reric allied with Charlemagne, who used the port as part of a strategic trade route that would avoid areas of Saxon and Danish control. It was destroyed in 808 AD by the Viking king Gudfred, whereupon the tradespeople were reportedly moved by the king to the Viking emporium of Hedeby near modern Schleswig.
The two Sigtrygg Runestones, designated as DR 2 and DR 4 in the Rundata catalog, are two of the Hedeby stones that were found in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, which during the Viking Age was part of Denmark. The runestones were raised after the Danish king Sigtrygg Gnupasson by his mother Ásfriðr. Together with the account of Adam of Bremen, the two inscriptions constitute evidence for the House of Olaf on the Danish throne.
The Hedeby stones are four runestones from the 10th century found at the town of Hedeby in northern Germany. This area was part of Denmark during the Viking Age.
Hollingstedt is a municipality in the district of Schleswig-Flensburg, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, located on the Treene river.
The Hedeby Viking Museum is a museum near the site of Hedeby, a former medieval city in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany focusing on the Viking Age history of the region. While the region is now in modern Germany, it was once the oldest city in Denmark until it was ceded in 1864. The museum features reconstructions of various Viking Age dwellings, ships, and houses numerous artifacts discovered during the ongoing archaeological research of the area.
The Rheider Au is a river of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.
Östergötland Runic Inscription MÖLM1960;230 or Ög MÖLM1960;230 is the Rundata catalog number for a memorial runestone that is located near a church in Törnevalla, which is 2 kilometers east of Linghem, Östergötland County, Sweden, which was in the historic province of Östergötland. The runestone has an inscription which refers to a Viking Age mercantile guild and depicts a ship.
Herbert Jankuhn was a German archaeologist who specialized in the archaeology of Germanic peoples. He is best known for his excavations at the Viking Age site of Hedeby, and for his instrumental role in the publishing of the second edition of the Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde.
While the Vikings are perhaps best known for accumulating wealth by plunder, tribute, and conquest, they were also skilled and successful traders. The Vikings developed several trading centres both in Scandinavia and abroad as well as a series of long-distance trading routes during the Viking Age. Viking trading centres and trade routes would bring tremendous wealth and plenty of exotic goods such as Arab coins, Chinese Silks, and Indian Gems. Vikings also established a "bullion economy" in which weighed silver, and to a lesser extent gold, was used as a means of exchange. Evidence for the centrality of trade and economy can be found in the criminal archaeological record through evidence of theft, counterfeit coins, and smuggling. The Viking economy and trade network also effectively helped rebuild the European economy after the fall of the Roman Empire.