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New Excavations at Hedeby Hochburg

New Excavations at Hedeby Hochburg

The Swedish-German excavation team

Further excavations under a Swedish-German cooperation have been carried out for the first time after almost 60 years at the Hochburg at Haithabu this June. The hillfort has always been overshadowed by the excavations at Haithabu. As a result neither the ratio of the retaining wall of the spur to its grave field with c. 50 flat burial mounds is known, nor its relation to Haithabu, only 180 m away. (cf. article S. Kalmring and L. Holmquist)

The current excavations are carried out in cooperation with the Arkeologiska forskningslaboratoriet of the University of Stockholm, the Statens Historiska Museet and the Riksantiqvarieämbetet. Due to the survey of the involved project partners, the excavations can tie in directly with the research projects carried out at Birka: “Birkas befästning” and “Borgar och befästningsverk i Mellansverige 400-1100 e.Kr.”.

Hardly any chronologically relevant finds from graves and earth wall can be deducted from former excavations at the Hochburg. Therefore the new excavation area, 12 x 1 m, was chosen so as to include both the rampart and a grave. Thus if there are no finds and in the worst case insufficient amounts of charcoal for radiocarbon dating, at least the stratigraphic relation between rampart and grave field can be clarified. By use of geomagnetics, the north-eastern point of the hillfort which curiously has not been included in the rampart of the plateau can be prospected to give further information.

Final processing of the excavation data is yet to occur. However, two documented rampart-phases and fascinating constructive details about the parapet walk prove to be rather rich finds which consists mainly of fragments of local pottery but also of three whetstones, one millstone fragment and a highly corroded iron fragment from the burial mound. The C14 dates of charcoal and cremated bones are eagerly awaited as they will shed light on the chronologic position of the Hochburg in relation to Haithabu.

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