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Viking trading centre and entrepôt constructed on the island of Björkö west of Stockholm in the early 9th century ad. Excavations show that the settlement and harbour were bounded by a rampart on the northeast side and overlooked by a hillfort to the south. Occupation with houses and workshops spread over the gently sloping ground between the rampart and the shore. Merchants and craftspeople lived here, including bead‐stitchers, comb‐makers, leatherworkers, and smiths. Christian missionaries led by St Ansgar came from Bremen in the mid 9th century. Raw materials and manufactured objects show far‐reaching trade east into Russia and China, south to Byzantium, and southwest to the Rhineland. Outside the ramparts are extensive cemeteries with more than 2000 grave mounds recorded to date. Birka was abandoned about ad 970, when its place as the most important trading centre in Uppland was taken by Sigtuna.


W. Bengt, 2001, Animal husbandry in the Viking Age town of Birka and its hinterland. Stockholm: Birka Project, Riksantikvarieämbetet

Subjects: Archaeology.

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