Saturday, September 11, 2010

Trelleborg - Viking Reconstruction on old Fortification Site

Trelleborg Town:  The Ferry and the Sights
History of "Trelleborg" the ring fort - Origins, Purpose

THE FERRY.  Trelleborg, Sweden.  This is known as the car and truck ferry-stop from Germany and other places.  From Rostock, Germany, to Trelleborg is an overnight trip, with loading in Germany about 11:00 PM.  Get your dinner on board, get a cabin for a shower and some sleep, and docking is about 6AM.  Be sure to say aloud to yourself and write down the ferry level where your car is parked.  Ferries that cross the Baltic Sea are big - six levels for vehicles and they all look alike.

Six AM - even 7 AM That is too early for the sights, but this Viking garrison is open for walking about even if the museum is not. 

THE SIGHTS.  A trelleborg signifies the old Viking fortification pattern of a raised center area for defense, with a surrounding ring of structures for other purposes.  It is also the name of cities or towns where there is a trelleborg. There is Trelleborg, Denmark; Trelleborg, Sweden (here), and probably more.   This is the reconstructed Viking village in Trelleborg.  Lots of buildings, a surrounding wooden fortification.  These were built during the reign of Harald Bluetooth, see Bogomilia, Harald Bluetooth, and it is believed that they were only in use for some 5 years, as a defense against Otto the Great and his incursions as Holy Roman Emperor, from Germany.  After Charlemagne's sons failed to keep the Empire together, finally Otto filled in -- and carried on, opposed by Harald and others who liked their own ways, could convert and have no problem reconverting back when the pressure was off. Forcing conversions does that. Is that so?

How tall were Vikings?  Their doorways are short.

Trelleborgs across Denmark, Sweden and Norway  could have all been constructed at the same time, during the reign of Harald Bluetooth, particularly 973 AD plus or minus, see the theory from The Vikings, A History, by Robert Ferguson, our summary at

A trelleborg is not a place for families. Wives managed their own affairs in the towns when the fighting men were off following their own star, and raised the children.  Ferguson suggests that the garrisons were lived in by the warriors for training and bonding, and could leave for limited days, then return.  The era of trelleborgs, says Ferguson, was also short -- once the disputed southern Jutland had been regained, and the German tribes under Otto had been repelled.

Harald had converted to Christianity in about 966, but was pushed out of power by his son, Sven (Sven Fork-beard?) exiled to Poland, probably, and dropped Christianity at his death, so they say; and he was never canonized, lending support to the claim.  He did, however, order the Danes to become Christian, and many did. 

Viking structures, as in other areas where winters are cold (Romania, Celtic cultures, some stone age structures built down into rock) are constructed often with sunken floors, for warmth.  Here is a Viking forge area.  The depth is not more than a foot or two.

People in vehicles and bikes are careful of the chickens.  We saw none scrambled.

We like to get going after landing, so did not take a south-route to a Viking stone ship site - there are others on the way.  A stone ship is a burial or memorial site where the outline of a full viking ship is set with spaced standing stones.