Early Medieval Ports between the Wismar Bight and the Danzig Bight

A project within German Research Foundation Priority Programme 1630 “Harbours from the Roman Iron Age to the Middle Ages

During the early Middle Ages the Baltic region was the contact zone between the Scandinavian kingdoms, the Frankish Empire as well as the Baltic and Slavic tribal areas. A total of nine maritime trading centres is currently known in the area between the Wismar Bight and the Danzig Bight, which had been inhabited by Slavs during the early and high medieval periods; their harbours represented pivotal gateways for transport by land and by sea. The detailed study of these harbours is the objective of an interdisciplinary research scheme by the NIhK and the German Archaeological Institute (DAI), which has been awarded funding by the German Research Foundation. The palaeogeographical parameters are being studied by Dr. Martina Karle and the archaeological investigations undertaken by Dr. Sebastian Messal. The Archaeological, geological nad geophysical methods are applied in close cooperation with the Central Geophysics project. Concomitant investigations of vegetation history and archaeobotany are being conducted by Dr. S. Wolters and Dr. F. Schlütz. The first phase of the project (2012–2015) concentrated on evaluating existing data from the above-mentioned trading sites and consolidating this database through a variety of additional surveys. Based on these results, the currently conducted second project phase is concentrating on the sites of Rostock-Dierkow, Ralswiek on the island of Rügen and Bardy-Swielubie near Kolobrzeg, while geoscientific investigations are still being continued in the areas of the port installations at Usedom, Groß Strömkendorf and Puck/Gdansk. This research is carried out in close cooperation with the State State Office for Culture and Heritage Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schwerin, the Office for Culture and Heritage of the City of Rostock as well as the Polish National Museums Szczecin and Gdansk.

Further information is available here.



Karle, M., Messal, S., Wolters, S. (2015): Early medieval emporia and their ports in the south-western Baltic Sea. Siedlungs- und Küstenforschung im südlichen Nordseegebiet, 38: 239-255.

Messal, S., Karle, M., Jöns, H., Lüth, F.: Die frühmittelalterlichen Emporien im südwestlichen Ostseeraum und ihre Häfen. In: T. Schmidts, M. Vučetić (Hrsg.), Häfen im 1. Millenium A. D. - Bauliche Konzepte, herrschaftliche und religiöse Einflüsse. Interdisziplinäre Forschungen zu Häfen von der Römischen Kaiserzeit bis zum Mittelalter 1 (Mainz im Druck).

Jöns, H., Messal, S. (2013): Neue Forschungen zur Struktur mittelalterlicher Hafenanlagen an der südlichen Ostseeküste. In: M. Bogucki u. M. Rębkowski (Hrsg.), Economies, Monetisation and Society in West Slavic Lands 800–1200 AD, Wolińskie Spotkania Mediewistyczne II (Szczecin 2013) 25-43.