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Who was in Harold Bluetooth's army? Strontium isotope investigation of the cemetery at the Viking Age fortress at Trelleborg, Denmark

Part of: The Vikings

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2015

T. Douglas Price
Affiliation:
Laboratory for Archaeological Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1180 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA; Department of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen, St Mary's Building, Elphinstone Road, Aberdeen AB24 3UF, UK (Email: tdprice@wisc.edu)
Karin Margarita Frei
Affiliation:
Saxo Institute and Center for Textile Research, University of Copenhagen, Njalsgade 76, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark
Andres Siegfried Dobat
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology, University of Aarhus, Moesgård Allé 20, DK-8270 Højbjerg, Denmark
Niels Lynnerup
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Biological Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, Panum Institute, Blegdamsvej 3, DK-2200 Copenhagen, Denmark
Pia Bennike
Affiliation:
Saxo Institute and Center for Textile Research, University of Copenhagen, Njalsgade 76, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark
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The circular fortress of Trelleborg on Zealand in Denmark is well known as a military camp with a key role in the formation of the Danish state under Harald Bluetooth in the tenth century AD. Taking a sample of 48 burials from the fort, strontium isotope analysis once again demonstrates its ability to eavesdrop on a community: at Trelleborg, the young men in its cemetery were largely recruited from outside Denmark, perhaps from Norway or the Slavic regions. Even persons buried together proved to have different origins, and the three females sampled were all from overseas, including a wealthy woman with a silver casket. Trelleborg, home of Harald Bluetooth's army, was a fortress of foreigners with vivid implications for the nature of his political mission.

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Debate
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd 2011

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