EXCLUSIVE: Decades-old mystery solved after satellite shows ‘Bluetooth Viking king’ IS buried in Polish village
The long-lost burial site of a Viking king whose name was the inspiration for Bluetooth wireless technology has been found in a village in Poland.
Using satellite remote sensing tools, researchers say they have now confirmed that a large Viking Age burial mound in the village of Wiejkowo, belonged to the 10th century king of Denmark and Norway, Harald Gormsson Bluetooth.
Lead researcher Marek Kryda, author of the best-selling book Viking Poland, told TFN: ‘The death and possible burial site of the Danish king Harald Gormsson Bluetooth was until now one of history’s most enduring mysteries.
‘The space-based reconnaissance allowed us to look at large swaths of landscape and find archaeological disturbances within the land, some as small as 12 inches (30.5 centimeters) long.
‘In a discipline where discovery was traditionally confined to a two-meter-square excavation, 21st-century technology satellite imagery has helped to make a breakthrough discovery of the possible burial mound of Harald Bluetooth.’
Gaining the nickname Blåtand meaning blue tooth, because he had a dead tooth that was dark blue, King Harald was credited with uniting the Scandinavian countries by introducing Christianity.
The discovery now confirms earlier speculation by Swedish archaeologist Sven Rosborn who suggested the Viking king was buried in the area following the 2014 discovery of a gold disc known as the Curmsun disc.
The disc’s Latin inscription mentioned the Viking king as the ‘ruler of Danes, Scania and the Viking fortress of Jomsborg’, which is today the town of Wolin just 3.5 miles west of the Wiejkowo burial mound.
According to Rosborn, the Curmsum disc, which he believed was a ‘grave gift’, was originally discovered alongside skeletal remains and a stash of other valuables in 1841 in a stone burial chamber underneath the current building of the local church in Wiejkowo.
The hoard was left in the crypt until 1945, when a Polish army major called Stefan Sielski entered and seized what was left of it.
Hiding it in a chest with old buttons it wasn’t until 2014 that his 11 year old great-granddaughter found it and showed it to her history teacher.
That sparked a chain reaction which led to the disc’s inscription being revealed.
But doubts about whether the king actually died and was buried in the village have divided archaeologists.
Kryda said: ‘There’s no doubt that the golden Wiejkowo disc found in the tomb is an extraordinary find.
“However it's worth mentioning that Rosborn's strong suggestion that Bluetooth was buried in Wiejkowo was not based on research on the ground in Wiejkowo.
“Instead, his suggestion was based solely on the research of the Curmsun Disc and Sielski family archives in Sweden.
“Without hard scientific evidence collected on the ground in Wiejkowo, Rosborn's theory was just a well-documented guess and suggestion.”
He added: “The satellite research fully confirmed the existence of a large Wiejkowo Mound, and of course at the same time confirmed that Wiejkowo is the burial site of Bluetooth.
“And that would mean that only the burial mound is his real grave, the original church was only a later addition to it.
“According to Danish archivist Steffen Harpsøe, the disc may have been created over 70 years after Bluetooth's burial by local priests around Jomsborg and Wiejkowo between 1050-1125 - and only then placed in his Royal crypt.
“Using Ground-Penetrating Radar Imagery will help us see what was inside.”