Thursday, 11 January 2018

Lund is probably the oldest Nordic city

Lund is the one of the oldest Nordic cities. Historical documents and archeological discoveries show that Lund was founded around 990 by the Danish Viking king Svend Forkbeard (Svend Tveskæg). He built the first Bishops Church in what calls today Kattesund, and a Main square (Stortorget) which still looks the same as one thousand years ago.

The archeological research continues. According to the archeologists, Maria Cinthio and Anders Ödman, the coffins found on the northern side of Lund Cathedral (see photo) can be dated back to 979-980 A.D. 

This kind of coffin has been found in Germany, and in Lund, but nowhere else in Scandinavia. The most fascinating with these coffins is that they were Christian! Hence, a Christian church must have been situated nearby. Most likely, according to the archeologists, such church was built around 960-970 and it had to be a stave church. At that time Svend Tveskæg was not Danish king yet, but Harald Gormsson (Harald Bluetooth) was.

These findings date back to the late Viking Age rather than the early Middle Ages. By that time there was a large city formation in Uppåkra, located just south of the current Lund. According to Egil Skallagrimssons Icelandic tale this city was in fact called Lund. The city was the largest Viking town in Northern Europe, about seven times as big as Birka outside Stockholm.

Still many unanswered questions remain about the relationship between the current Lund and Viking Lund in Uppåkra. A new book about this part of the history of Lund will be published during the spring 2018. Hopefully this book will provide answers to these unsettled questions. Nevertheless it is most likely that current Lund was founded by Harald Bluetooth around 960-970 A.D., and not by Svend Forkbeard as previously believed.

This makes Lund the oldest Nordic city.  

Welcome to Lund!

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