A wall to protect commerce

Der Spiegel writes about a recent sensational discover by archeologists in Germany. They have purportedly found the main gateway to the Viking Empire. Archeologists have long known that the Danevirke had a main gate, but have recently taken a closer look at part of the construction — a three-meter-thick (10 feet) wall from the 8th century near Hedeby (known as Haithabu in German) where they believe they have located the main gate through the Danevirke. The puzzle though was why it was built. The archaeologists think they no have the answer.

For the duration of this short overland trek, the valuable goods — including gold from Byzantium, bear pelts from Novgorod and even statues of Buddha from India — were open to attack from the mainland. In order to protect this important trade artery, archeologists now believe, a bulwark of earth, stone and bricks was constructed. The Danevirke, in other words, was little more than a protective shield for commerce.

More (here)

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