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Kaupang – Flourishing Viking Town – A Commercial Hub And Transit Port For North Sea Trade

A. Sutherland – – Founded within the 780s, Kaupang (in Old Norse’ kaupangr’, ‘market’ or ‘buying and selling place) was Norway’s necessary industrial and manufacturing metropolis for Vikings and others.

Kaupang is situated in Skiringssal (now generally known as Huseby), not removed from Larvik, in county Vestfold on the mouth of the Oslofjord, within the south of Norway. Vestfold( means “West of the Fold”) and Fold is the traditional title of the Oslofjord.

Kaupang - Flourishing Viking Market And Production Center For North Sea Trade

Kaupang Viking village – mannequin. Image credit score:

This specific area of Norway is thought for its spectacular archaeological websites like Oseberg, Gokstad, and Borre, all related to the Viking interval.  Oseberg Ship – found at Oseberg, Norway, in 1904 by Knut Rom, a neighborhood farmer – is a unprecedented discovery.

Kaupang is talked about within the Ynglinga saga (1225) by Snorri Sturluson and different early medieval sources that point out that the world was a vital royal seat within the eighth and ninth centuries. The middle – most likely a seasonal however necessary market – flourished throughout the extra vital a part of the 9th century. It was a spot of commerce and cultural contact with foreigners and merchants from throughout Norway who got here to purchase and promote.

Although it was not as efficient as its two Nordic “sister cities,” Birka in Sweden and Hedeby in southern Jutland (now Schleswig, Germany), Kaupang was a effectively-recognized and extremely efficient hub for commerce and manufacturing, a number of a long time into the 900s.

Archaeological Finds From Kaupang

“In the eighth century, there was just one city in Norway that might, with some proper, be known as a metropolis. It was on a seaside by the Viksfjorden in Larvik municipality in Vestfold, the place the farm Kaupang is in the present day.

Kaupang - Flourishing Viking Market And Production Center For North Sea Trade

Credits: Flemming Bau, 2004 – Historisk Museum

It was based concurrently the primary Viking assaults on the British Isles and the continent. In its day, the place was most likely known as the procuring middle in Skiringssal. In this tiny city, there have been maybe 400-600 souls, and their city life in Norway bought its early begin some 1,200 years in the past…” 1

As we see, at the moment, not many individuals inhabited Kaupang, thought-about the primary Norwegian metropolis that functioned as a commerce hub, transit port, and affluent manufacturing middle, the place craftsmen  produced massive portions of pins, bracelets, and harnesses for horses, each for rich clients and abnormal “folk flest” (the plenty). They manufactured and traded items of home and international items.

Excavations carried out by a Norwegian archaeologist, Charlotte Blindheim (1917 – 2005), uncovered a rich graveyard, a fancy of homes and workshops for metalworking with iron, bronze, and silver, the place expert artisans and smiths produced beautiful items of knickknack, ornaments and different metallic items of top quality.

Kaupang - Flourishing Viking Market And Production Center For North Sea Trade

Viking jewellery was lovely and made by expert craftsmen. A massive-scale jewellery manufacturing within the Viking city of Kaupang developed about 1,150 years in the past.

Weaving weights and spinning wheels have been discovered at Kaupang’s different workshops, indicating an in depth manufacturing of thread and textiles.

Artifacts (till in the present day, about 100,000 finds) additionally embody weapons from France, small items of amber from Birka and the Baltic Sea coast with reduce marks, half-completed amber beads, and colourful glass beads from the Middle East and the Mediterranean, in addition to Frankish beakers of glass and ceramic tubs from the Rhine districts of Germany.

Later excavations on the Kaupang web site additionally revealed many Russian, Frankish, and Arabic (Cufic) silver cash and one bronze coin of nice worth, relationship to the Roman interval.

However, the manufacturing of vessels made from soapstone was the central a part of Kaupang’s export to Jutland and Hedeby.

Norway's Museum of Cultural History is selling replicas of jewelry linked to discoveries from the excavations at Kaupang. This brooch, in Oseberg style, dates from around 900AD. PHOTO: Kulturhistorisk Museum/University of Oslo

This Oseberg-style brooch, dates to circa 900AD and associated to finds revealed within the excavations at Kaupang. Image credit score: Kulturhistorisk Museum/University of Oslo

Why Was Kaupang Trade Center Abandoned So Quickly?

In the late 9th century, the exercise at Kaupang ceased reasonably rapidly. The final funerals came about at Kaupang, and in accordance with historical sources, the location was deserted for unknown causes and turned into a ghost city within the early tenth century.

Towards the top of the Middle Ages, most of Kaupang’s space was become cultivated land.

Kaupang - Flourishing Viking Market And Production Center For North Sea Trade

Several causes have been steered to clarify Kaupang’s decline. According to 1 concept, Kaupang was situated in Vestfold County beneath Danish rule at the moment. The institution of Kaupang would have resulted from a Danish initiative across the yr 800.

There are indications that the Danish hegemony weakened throughout the first half of the tenth century, and in consequence, Kaupang started to say no steadily.

Later, when the Danish dominance beneath King Harald Bluetooth once more gained floor there, the Danes most likely needed to ascertain one other or a number of commerce facilities. Still, this time, they determined to decide on different geographical places and never Kaupang.

Written by A. Sutherland – Staff Writer

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Expand for references

  1. Historisk Museum

Hansen G. Everyday Products within the Middle Ages

Herbert Jankuhn., Trade and Settlement in Central and Northern Europe as much as and throughout the Viking Period

T Douglas Price, An Archaeological History from the First Humans to the Vikings



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