Viking Town Seminar

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i-6452dfd076b7070e17807f9dbd26e343-haihabu bild.jpgI made one of my infrequent visits to the University of Stockholm campus today. After getting my PhD in 2003 I was really tired of the place, and I’ve pretty much stayed away since apart from a few vivas (Sw. disputationer). But today there was an international seminar on Viking Period towns, so I went. Weird to think it’s been almost 17 years since I enrolled.


Turned out a team from Schleswig, people working with Haithabu, are here to meet people working with Birka and Sigtuna. Their leader is the tireless Claus von Carnap-Bornheim, mostly known as an energetic worker in Late Roman Period studies (war booty sacrifices etc.), but since a few years also the driving force behind a new project at Haithabu. He’s applied wholesale GIS to the enormous site-archives left by Jankuhn and Schietzel, and invited the Bornholm metal-detector people with spectacular results, and run a magnetometer all over the place, and also dug a fair bit. “You cannot sleep when you are dealing with a monster site”, he said in his German accent and laughed.

It was great to hear more about Schleswig and Haithabu where I spent some happy days last summer. I particularly enjoyed presentations by Anders Wikström about the GIS-based Sigtuna excavations gazetteer, Joachim Schulze about Haithabu’s town plan and house constructions (loads of exact dendro dates!) and Sven Kalmring about Haithabu’s harbour and jetties (more dendro dates!). And then came Volker Hilberg, who turned out to be Haithabu’s small-finds man. Exactly my kind of guy! Lovely, lovely metalwork. He’s identified a probable pre-town Vendel Period settlement inside the Halbkreiswall, shown by small finds. Volker baby, I’ll be in touch!

After lunch I sat down in the sunshine at a garden table with my buddies Bente Magnus and Torun Zachrisson to show them the relief brooch from Kaga. Always great to share a new find! Bente pointed out that there are actually Style I birds along the edges of the piece, so it’s late Migration Period (phase D2).