Birka was established in the 8th century on Björkö, located in Lake Malaren, Sweden. The city came to be known as the “First Swedish Town” and was a significant commercial emporium connecting travellers, merchants, and Vikings from Europe, Asia, and beyond.
The town has surrounded by a defending rampart. The inside area, particular the Black Earth harbour and the garrison, has been extensively excavated through decades.
Outside the rampart, at the northern shore, archaeological research taken by Stockholm University revealed a depression with a wooden boat slop located at the bottom.
Additionally, woodworking tools, whetstones from slate (probably for sharpening the tools) and boat rivets were unearthed at the place, suggesting the location was used as a shipyard.
The site is the first of its kind and expands the knowledge of Birka and its surroundings. An additional site, probably a boat landing, still is under investigation.
The research, led by Prof. Dr Sven Isaksson and Prof. Dr Sven Kalmring, has been conducted with techniques that include drone surveys. The researchers present a far more complex picture of Birka, adding a rich maritime cultural landscape to the well-known urban environment.
There are many questions to be answered yet, such as who was able to dock there and how access was given to the place.
Ships were central to the Viking lifestyle. A vikingr was a person who used to travel around the Vik – inlet, bay – whether for warfare or trade. Being a “Viking” wasn’t an ethnicity or “race”, but an occupation.
Sven Isaksson, Markus Fjellström, Sven Kalmring & Lena Holmquist 2022. En vikingatida varvsplats vid Kugghamn,
Birka. Arkeologiska undersökningar av L2022:2719, Birka, Björkö, Adelsö socken, Uppland, augusti 2020 och 2021.
The archaeological report is available at:
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The discovery was publicised by the Stockholm University at:
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