Vikings @ Haithabu

Haithabu or Hedeby was an important Danish Viking Age trading settlement in the North of Europe from the 8th to the 11th century. We had seen a video documentary about it and were curious to visit the actual site of Hedeby.

Rune stone


Hedeby (or in German Haithabu) was located near the southern end of the Jutland Peninsula, now Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. 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.”

Rune stone found in the area mentioning Hedeby
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 log road overland for an almost uninterrupted seaway between the Baltic and the North Sea and avoid a dangerous and time-consuming circumnavigation of Jutland. 

Ornament made in a casting mould

Burial objects from a warrior grave

Reconsructed Viking ship ..

.. according to the remains of a ship found near the harbour
Hedeby was the second largest Nordic town during the Viking Age, after Uppåkra in present-day southern Sweden. It was abandoned after its destruction by the Slavs in 1066. In the late 19th century it was rediscovered and excavations began in 1900. A museum close to the site displays the most important objects found by the archeologists.
View over former Hedeby

We are standing on the wall surrounding the former town of Hedeby. In the distance you can make out the roofs of the reconstructed houses in the centre and far behind them, before the forest starts, there is the city wall again, which runs in a semicircle around the former harbour. This area was full of houses about 1000 years ago with 1500 people living here at its peak.

7 houses were reconstructed on the ground of the former centre of Hedeby.
A hostel had a bigger fireplace and its own oven to bake bread

Cooking and sleeping area of one of the houses

Outdoor kitchen

House of a trader with the storage area at the front

Workspace to make combs and other tools from horn
Reconstructed ship trying to set sail
Flower of the Day

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