King Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson of Denmark spread Christianity in his kingdom
More than 1,000 years after his death in what is now Poland, the European king whose nickname lives on thanks to wireless technology is at the center of an archaeological dispute.
Chronicles from the Middle Ages say that the Danish king Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson got his nickname from a tooth, probably a dead one, that appeared bluish. One chronicle from that time also says that a Viking king was buried in Roskilde, Denmark in the late 10th century.
But a Swedish archaeologist and a Polish researcher recently claimed in separate publications that they had pinpointed his most likely burial site in the village of Wiejkowo, an area of northwestern Poland that had Viking ties in Harald’s time.
Marek Kryda, author of the book Viking Poland, told the AP that a “pagan mound” he claims is under a 19th-century Roman Catholic church in Wiejkowa likely holds the king’s remains. Mr 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 Mr Kryda is wrong because Harald, who converted from paganism to Christianity and founded churches in the area, must have been given a matching grave somewhere in the cemetery. The Wiejkow Church of the Immaculate Conception stands on a small round hill.
Historians at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen say they know of a “suggestion” that Wiejkowo is Harald’s burial place.
Mr. Rosborn detailed his research in a 2021 book, “The Golden Treasure of the Viking King,” and Mr. Kryda disputed some of the Swede’s findings in his own book, published this year.
Harald, who died in 985, probably in Jomsborg – what is now thought to be the Polish town of Wolin – was one of the last Viking kings to rule over what is now Denmark, northern Germany and parts of 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 Norse runic letters for the king’s initials, HB.
Mr Rosborn, a former director of the Swedish city museum in Malmö, was prompted to his quest in 2014 when an 11-year-old girl asked for his opinion on a small, dirty coin-like object with old-looking text inside. family property for decades.
Experts have determined that the cast gold disk that piqued Maja Sielski’s curiosity dates back to the 10th century. A Latin inscription on what is now known as the “Curmsun disc” reads: “Harald Gormsson [Latin Curmsun] king of the Danes, Scania, Jomsborg, city of Aldinburg.”
Sielski’s family, who moved to Sweden from Poland in 1986, said the disc came from a treasure found in 1841 in a tomb under the Wiejkowo church, which replaced a medieval chapel.
The Sielski family came into possession of the disc, along with the Wiejkowo parish archives, which contained medieval parchment chronicles in Latin, in 1945 when the former German region became part of Poland as a result of World War II.
A family member who knew Latin understood the value of the chronicles — dating back to the 10th century — and translated some of them into Polish. They mention Harald, another fact that connects the Wiejkowo church with him.
A nearby island in the Baltic Sea and the town of Wolin cultivate the region’s Viking history: it has a rune stone in honor of Harald Bluetooth, and annual Slav and Viking festivals are held here.
Mr Kryda says the Curmsun disc is “phenomenal” with its meaningful inscription and insists Wiejkowo would be worth exploring as Harald’s burial site, but there are currently no plans for any excavation.