One archeologist believes he found evidence of the Viking city of Jomsborg on a Polish island in the Baltic Sea.
The researcher claims to have discovered remains of an ancient fortress.
Whether the 10th century city was real or not remains a point of discussion.
The rousing debate surrounding the potential existence and possible location of a key 10th century Viking city has resurfaced, thanks to an observation tower on a Polish island in the Baltic Sea.
The history of Viking life has been largely buried, whether physically or figuratively. But a simple construction project to erect a new observation tower in a public park on the Polish island Wolin unearthed fresh artifacts. Those artifacts point toward the existence of a 10th century city—at least, according to the man doing the finding.
When Polish islands start offering up clues to a 10th century city, Viking scholars get excited, knowing that the potentially-real-possibly-mythical city of Jomsborg could be part of the equation.
“It is very exciting,” Wojciech Filipowiak, an archaeologist at Poland’s Academy of Sciences working on the project, tells the New York Times. “It could solve a mystery going back more than 500 years: Where is Jomsborg?”
Believed to be a key part of Viking history, Jomsborg first surfaced in 12th century texts. But the location was never discovered. That led some to believe that Jomsborg was nothing more than a compilation of lore—a mythical mash-up city described as a fortress combined with a bustling trading post.
If real, Jomsborg would have served as a trading post that hosted Vikings, Germans, and Slavs—all people groups with historical ties to the area. Karolina Kokora, director of Wolin’s history museum, tells the New York Times that this city would have resembled a “medieval New York on the Baltic.” Of course, that’s only if it actually ever existed outside of mentions in old Viking texts.
Those texts, though, purport a lively settlement with thousands of residents, a military fort, and a pier to give Viking ships a place to restock and rest.
Filipowiak finding what he believes to be remains of the original fortress would certainly be chalked up to more than good fortune. Excavations have occurred throughout the island—including in other parts of the park— and some with the express purpose of uncovering Viking history. Finding such a key historical element at this point would offer quite the trove of research.
It could also attract additional public interest. As Viking civilization continues to proliferate pop culture, finding an ancient home of the Vikings could prove a tourism boom. “Vikings are sexy and attract a lot of interest,” Ewa Grzybowska, Wolin mayor, tells the New York Times. “Wherever you go here, there is a piece of history.”
Uncovering potential Viking artifacts at a public park on the island in the Baltic Sea could open a fresh approach to attracting visitors. Well, if it all turns out to be real.
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