Viking Age sites

Birka

During the Viking Age, Birka was an important trading center. The archaeological sites of Birka and Hovgården, on the neighbouring island of Adelsö, make up an archaeological complex which illustrates the elaborate trading networks of Viking Scandinavia and their influence on the subsequent history of Europe. Generally regarded as Sweden's oldest town, Birka (along with Hovgården) has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site ...
Founded: ca. 750 AD | Location: Adelsö, Sweden

Gamleborg Viking Fortress

Gamleborg, also known as Gamleborg Viking Fortress, was the first fortress on the Danish island of Bornholm. Built around 750 AD, it was the seat of the kings of Bornholm during the Viking age (750–1050) and early Middle Ages (1050–1150). The massive fortress is 264 metres long from north to south and 110 metres wide from east to west, with gates to the north and southwest. Around 1100, significant alterations were ma ...
Founded: 750 AD | Location: Bornholm, Denmark

Danevirke

The Danevirke is a system of Danish fortifications. This important linear defensive earthwork across the neck of the Cimbrian peninsula, was initiated by the Danes in the Nordic Iron Age at some point before 500 AD. It was later expanded multiple times during Denmark"s Viking Age. The Danevirke was last used for military purposes in 1864 during the Second War of Schleswig. The Danevirke stretches for 30 km, from the ...
Founded: 500 AD | Location: Kleindannewerk, Germany

Eastern Settlement

The Eastern Settlement (Eystribyggð) was the first and largest of the three areas of Norse Greenland, settled c. AD 985 by Norsemen from Iceland. At its peak, it contained approximately 4,000 inhabitants. The last written record from the Eastern Settlement is of a wedding solemnized in 1408, placing it about 50–100 years later than the end of the more northern Western Settlement. Despite its name, the Eastern S ...
Founded: 985 AD | Location: Eastern Settlement, Greenland

Hovgården

Hovgården is an archaeological site on the Lake Mälaren island of Adelsö. During the Viking Age, the centre of the prospering Mälaren Valley was the settlement Birka, founded in the mid-8th century and abandoned in the late 10th century and located on the island Björkö just south of Adelsö. Hovgården is believed to have been the site from where kings and chieftains ruled the area. ...
Founded: ca. 100-1520 AD | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Ladby Ship

Ladby Ship is Denmark's only ship grave from the Viking period. Around 925 AD, the king of Ladby was buried in his ship, which was 21.5 meters long and 3 meters wide. A burial mound was raised above the ship. His grave was furnished with all his fine possessions, including 11 horses and 3 or 4 dogs. In the bow of the ship lies the original anchor and anchor chain. Unfortunately, the grave was plundered back in the Viking ...
Founded: c. 925 AD | Location: Kerteminde, Denmark

Borre Mounds

Borre mound cemetery (Borrehaugene) is an exceptional large area of burial mounds in Scandinavia. Today, seven large mounds and one cairn can be seen. At least two mounds and one cairn have been destroyed in modern times. There are also 25 smaller cairns and the cemetery may have been larger. Some of the monuments are over 45m in diameter and up to 6m high. Borrehaugene provides important historical knowledge and can be s ...
Founded: 600-900 AD | Location: Borre, Norway

Lembecksburg

Lembecksburg was a medieval ring wall with a diameter of 95 meters and a height of ten meters. According to old lore, it was constructed in the 9th century as a stronghold against the Vikings and is named after the knight Klaus Lembeck who had allegedly been residing there as a steward of king Valdemar IV of Denmark in the 14th century. After breaking his feudal oath, though, Lembeck is said to have been besieged by the k ...
Founded: 9-10th century AD | Location: Borgsum, Germany

Brattahlíð

Brattahlíð, often anglicised as Brattahlid, was Erik the Red"s estate in the Eastern Settlement Viking colony he established in south-western Greenland toward the end of the 10th century. Erik and his descendants lived there until late in the 15th century. The name Brattahlíð means 'the steep slope'. At Brattahlíð stood probably the first church in the New World: Þj&oa ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Qassiarsuk, Greenland

Oseberghaugen

Oseberghaugen is a Viking era burial mound. The Oseberg ship was found in the Oseberg burial mound in 1904. This Viking longship is now in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. Archaeological excavations in 1904 uncovered history"s largest and richest example of craftmanship from the Viking Age. In addition to the Oseberg ship, Oseberghaugen contained the Oseberg carriage, five beautifully carved bed-posts shaped like anim ...
Founded: 834 AD | Location: Tønsberg, Norway

Tinnumburg

Tinnumburg is the best preserved of the three ancient ring forts in Sylt. The fort was built around the birth of Christ. The rampart has a diameter of 120 meters. The wall is up to seven meters high and has a circumference of about 440 meters. The castle had at least two gates (east and south). Excavations in 1870, 1948 and 1976 provided evidence that the Tinnumburg was built in the style of early Roman Empire round ramp ...
Founded: 0 AD | Location: Sylt, Germany

Rurikovo Gorodische

Rurikovo Gorodische (Рюриково городище, in Scandinavian sources known as Holmgård) is a settlement, an archaeological site of the 9th century in front of Yuriev Monastery. Including known as the residence of the princes of Novgorod, which is connected with the names of many famous political figures of ancient Russia. Set ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Veliky Novgorod, Russia

Søndre Hella

At Søndre Hella is a restored burial ground with over 20 graves from the Late Iron Ages, ca. 500-1000 AD.
Founded: 500-1000 AD | Location: Nøtterøy, Norway

Aggersborg

Aggersborg is the largest of Denmark's former Viking ring castles, and one of the largest archeological sites in Denmark. It consisted of a circular rampart surrounded by a ditch. Four main roads arranged in a cross connected the castle centre with the outer ring. The roads were tunnelled under the outer rampart, leaving the circular structure intact. The ring castle had an inner diameter of 240 metres. The ditch was loc ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Logstor, Denmark

Hulterstad Viking Burial Ground

Hulterstad has served as a Viking burial ground. Noteworthy graveyards can be found there, together with the usual Viking structure - the burial ship. It stands a few meters away from the Hulterstad Church, which is believed to be as old as the graveyard. The burial ground comprises over 170 individual burials but only one stone ship, which is also partially damaged. Hulterstad is situated on the western fringe of the Sto ...
Founded: 800-1000 AD | Location: Mörbylånga, Sweden

Kvitsøy Stone Cross

The famous Kvitsøy Stone Cross was erected between 800–1050 AD. Some say it was put there by English missionaries in the 900s while others claim it was raised by Erling Skjalgsson and Olav Haraldsson, Viking chiefs, in 1016. There are a number of large stone crosses along the west coast of the Norway. Kvitsøy is first mentioned in the Snorre Saga, where Snorre records a truce being made between King Ol ...
Founded: 800 - 1050 AD | Location: Kvitsøy, Norway

Lejre

Lejre was the capital of an Iron Age kingdom sometimes referred to as the Lejre Kingdom. According to early legends, this was ruled by kings of the Skjöldung dynasty, predecessors of the kings of medieval Denmark. Legends of the kings of Lejre are known from a number of medieval sources, including the twelfth-century Gesta Danorum written by Saxo Grammaticus and the anonymous twelfth-century Chronicon Lethrense, or Chron ...
Founded: 550 - 1000 AD | Location: Lejre, Denmark

Gettlinge Stone Ship Burial Ground

Gettlinge is a village in the southwest portion of the island of Öland It is known for its impressive Viking stone ship burial ground. Gettlinge is situated on the western fringe of the Stora Alvaret, a World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO. The principal evidence of life in the Gettlinge area from 1000 BC to 1000 AD is derived from the gravefields themselves. The Gettlinge burial ground is situated near the coast hi ...
Founded: 1000 BC-1000 AD | Location: Morbylånga, Sweden

Karlevi Runestone

The Karlevi Runestone, designated as Öl 1 by Rundata, is commonly dated to the late 10th century. It is one of the most notable and prominent runestones and constitutes the oldest record of a stanza of skaldic verse. The runic inscription on the Karlevi Runestone is partly in prose, partly in verse. It is the only example of a complete scaldic stanza preserved on a runestone and is composed in the "lordly meter" the dr ...
Founded: ca. 950-1000 AD | Location: Mörbylånga, Öland, Sweden

Grobina Burial Ground

Very little evidence of, Scandinavian settlement has been found in the eastern Baltic area, outside of the towns and trading places which grew up along the shores of the Baltic Sea in the pre-Viking and Viking periods. One such was Grobina in modern Latvia. Grobina seems to have been a centre of Scandinavian settlement on the Baltic Sea coast. It has a fort and at least three cemeteries containing grave goods of central S ...
Founded: 9th century | Location: Grobiņa, Latvia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre

Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.

Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.

Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.