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World heritage

The United Nations World Heritage Committee incorporated the Danewerk border building and the Viking Age trading venue Haithabu in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The significant Viking Age sea trading venue Haithabu and the Danewerk border building are located at a historic narrow passage between the Baltic Sea estuary Schlei and the North Sea lowlands, close to Schleswig in the north of Schleswig-Holstein. Between the 8th and 11th centuries, the sites were located centrally in the trading networks between North and West Europe, forming the core between Scandinavia and Continental Europe.

During the entire Viking period, Haithabu was one of the largest and most important trade towns. In the 10th century, Haithabu was incorporated into the Danewerk defence system which controlled the border country and the narrow land bridge between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

Unique sources for academia

The multitude and quality of the archaeological testimonies as well as the rich and extremely well-preserved archaeological material show the unique significance of this ensemble of monuments. Both monuments provide excellent witness for exchange and trade between people with different cultural traditions between the 8th and 11th centuries. They became important academic sources for enabling understanding of a large number of economic, social and historic developments in Viking Age North Europe.

Application due to Prof. Dr. Claus von Carnap-Bornheim’s initiative

More than 14 years ago, the Schleswig-Holstein Landtag [State parliament] made a start on the application and proposal marathon on Prof. Dr. Claus von Carnap-Bornheim, Managing Director of the Schleswig-Holstein State Museums Foundation’s initiative.

An international proposal together with Iceland, Denmark, Latvia and Norway with the topic “Viking Age Sites in North Europe” was referred back to the applicants by the World Heritage Committee for further reworking and therefore no longer followed. 

Instead, the Archaeological State Office formulated a new application at short notice, just focussing on Haithabu and the Danewerk as a unique Viking Age commercial intersection and border building. The application was submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in January 2017 and examined by ICOMOS in autumn 2017 and spring 2018. 

The International Committee (ICOMOS) experts proposed the inclusion of the complex of monuments as “The Archaeological Border complex of Hedeby and the Danevirke” in the UNESCO World Heritage list in May 2018.

Further information: www.haithabu-danewerk.de

Schleswig-Holstein State Museums
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