Grobina Burial Ground

Grobiņa, Latvia

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.

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A11, Grobiņa, Latvia
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Details

Founded: 9th century
Category: Cemeteries, mausoleums and burial places in Latvia
Historical period: Viking Age (Latvia)

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