WIEJKOWO, Poland (AP) — More than 1,000 years after his death in present-day Poland, a European king whose nickname lives on thanks to wireless technology is at the center of an archaeological dispute.
Medieval chronicles say that King Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson of Denmark acquired his nickname from a tooth, probably dead, that looked bluish. A chronicle from the time also indicates that the Viking king was buried in Roskilde, Denmark, at the end of the 10th century.
But a Swedish archaeologist and a Polish researcher recently claimed in separate posts that they had identified his most likely burial site in the village of Wiejkowo, in an area of northwestern Poland that had Viking ties. in the time of Harald.
Marek Kryda, author of the book ‘Viking Poland’, told The Associated Press that a “pagan mound” he claims was located under the 19th-century Roman Catholic church in Wiejkowo likely houses the king’s remains. Kryda said geological satellite images available on a Polish government portal revealed a round shape that looked like a Viking burial mound.
But Swedish archaeologist Sven Rosborn says Kryda is wrong because Harald, who converted from paganism to Christianity and founded churches in the area, must have received a proper grave somewhere in the cemetery. The Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Wiejkowo stands on top of a small round hill.
Historians at the Danish National Museum in Copenhagen say they are familiar with the “suggestion” that Wiejkowo is Harald’s burial place.
Rosborn detailed his research in the 2021 book ‘The Viking King’s Golden Treasure’ and Kryda challenged some of the Swede’s findings in his own book published this year.
Harald, who died in 985, probably in Jomsborg – now believed to be the Polish town of Wolin – was one of the last Viking kings to rule what is now Denmark, northern Germany and parts of the Sweden and Norway. He spread Christianity in his kingdom.
Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson named its Bluetooth wireless technology after the king, reflecting how he united much of Scandinavia during his lifetime. The technology logo is designed from the Scandinavian runic letters for the king’s initials, HB.
Rosborn, the former director of the Swedish Museum in the city of Malmö, was spurred on his quest in 2014 when an 11-year-old girl asked his opinion of a small, dirty coin-like object with ancient text that had been in the possession of his family. for decades.
Experts have determined that the cast gold disc that aroused Maja Sielski’s curiosity dates from the 10th century. The Latin inscription on what is now known as the “Curmsun Disc” reads: “Harald Gormsson (Curmsun in Latin) King of the Danes, Scania, Jomsborg, City of Aldinburg.”
Sielski’s family, who moved to Sweden from Poland in 1986, said the disk came from a treasure found in 1841 in a tomb under the church in Wiejkowo, which replaced a medieval chapel.
The Sielski family came into possession of the record, along with the parish archives of Wiejkowo which contained medieval parchment chronicles in Latin, in 1945, when the former German region became part of Poland following World War II. world.
A member of the family who knew Latin understood the value of the chronicles – which dated back as far as the 10th century – and translated some of them into Polish. They mention Harald, another fact linking the Wiejkowo church to him.
The nearby Baltic Sea island and town of Wolin cultivates the region’s Viking history: it has a runestone in honor of Harald Bluetooth and hosts annual Slavic and Viking festivals.
Kryda says the Curmsun Disc is “phenomenal” with its significant inscription and insists it would be worth considering Wiejkowo as Harald’s burial place, but there are currently no plans for excavations.