The Viking-Attack of 845

Foto: AMHMiddle Age

Hamburg Archaeological Museum

Hamburg Archaeological Museum
Hamburg, Germany

Disaster struck in 845 when the Vikings attacked Hammaburg. Rimbert describes the surprising attack in the Vita Ansgari with dramatic narrative. His report gives an account of the inadequate defence, the superiority of the raiders, the flight of the population and the looting that lasted three days and ended with pillage and destruction. Is the Viking attack documented archaeologically as well? After such a significant fire, archaeologists would expect to discover a burnt layer that covered the entire settlement area. During the excavations, however, only a few scorch marks were found. These are remains of charcoal, burnt loam and sooty stones that are likely to come from the fireplaces of the houses. There is insufficient proof of a terrible fire as Rimbert described it. Nevertheless the devastation must have been disastrous. After the attack the fortification was levelled and the castle's moat was filled up.


  • Title: The Viking-Attack of 845
  • Creator: Foto: AMH
  • Date: Middle Age
  • Provenance: Archäologisches Museum Hamburg Stadtmuseum Harburg|Helms-Museum
  • Type: sword hilt
  • Medium: Iron

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