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 Swedish and Gotlandic type. Recent investigations in the area have shown that one of the cemeteries contained no less than 3,000 burial mounds. The collection of objects recovered is very rich and some of the finds are unique in the Viking world.
In general, the different cemeteries at Grobina have been most thoroughly investigated, but other monuments are also known, for example hoards, pagan cult sites, settlements and fortifications. Six more or less definite hoards are known to have been found on or near the banks of the Alande river. The hoards of the 9th -12th century contained Cufic and Anglo-Saxon coins, silver ingots, silver and bronze ornaments (brooches, neckrings, bracelets) some of which where gilded.
A picture stone of 6th or 7th century date, for instance, clearly from Gotland or inspired by Gotlandic travellers, was found in one of the mounds and is the first object of this type to have been discovered on the eastern shores of the Baltic. A close connection with pre-Viking and Viking Gotlandic culture should not surprise us given that Grobina is only about thesatRe distance from Gotland as is Birka.
Grobina might be identified with the town of Seeburg, mentioned by the contemporary biographer, Rimbert, when describing its capture by the Svear in the mid-9th century.References:
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.