Haithabu can look back on more than 100 years’ research history. Following the rediscovery of the settlement, first excavations started in 1900 and were primarily intensified during the 1930s and 1960s. By 1981, some 5 percent of the roughly 26 hectare-large settlement area within the strong semi-circular ramparts had been examined. Houses, workshops and graveyards were revealed after some 1000 years. The meticulous documentation of the various examinations forms the basis for all archaeological evaluations.
Large-scale port excavation took place in 1979/1980, which also yielded the remains of a royal battleship as well as extensive remains of the land bridges. A research project began in January 2002, which used geophysical measurement methods to examine the entire settlement area non-destructively. As a result of these measurement results, a targeted smaller scale excavation could take place. Using a Geographic Information System (GIS), the new research results are combined with the information from the old excavations, thus constantly extending the picture of the town of Haithabu in former times.
In 2017, a further excavation took place on one of the large Haithabu cemeteries. This examination was a continuation of an excavation started in 1939 and interrupted due to the war. A total exceeding 12,000 findings were concealed here. They reflect the replacement of heathen with Christian burial customs and indicate a local wealthy upper class.