Sites & cities that bear the name of Grobiņa


Today in : Latvia
First trace of activity : ca. 7th century C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 9th century C.E
Recorded names : Grobin

Description : Grobiņa (German: Grobin) is a town in western Latvia, eleven kilometers east of Liepāja. It was founded by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century. Some ruins of their Grobina castle are still visible. The town was given its charter in 1695. During the Early Middle Ages, Grobiņa (or Grobin) was the most important political centre on the territory of Latvia. There was a centre of Scandinavian settlement on the Baltic Sea, comparable in many ways to Hedeby and Birka but probably predating them both. About 3,000 surviving burial mounds contain the most impressive remains of the Vendel Age in Northern Europe. The settlement at Grobin was excavated by Birger Nerman in 1929 and 1930. Nerman found remains of an earthwork stronghold, which had been protected on three sides by the Ālande River. Three Vendel Age cemeteries may be dated to the period between 650 and 800 AD. One of them was military in character and analogous to similar cemeteries in the Mälaren Valley in Central Sweden, while two others indicate that there was "a community of Gotlanders who were carrying on peaceful pursuits behind the shield of the Swedish military". From Nerman's findings, it appears that Grobin was the site of an early Scandinavian colony from Gotland. Many of the graves in level ground were of women, who could be identified as natives of Gotland by their belt-buckles and brooches. The grave-mounds predominantly housed men, often accompanied by typical Scandinavian weaponry. In one grave a picture-stone or stele depicting two duck-like birds was found in 1987. Such picture-stones are otherwise unique to Gotland. From its style it can be dated to the second half of 7th century. The weathered surface of one side contains refined carvings - inside the ring of ornaments there are two waterbirds; their beaks meet. Several hundreds of such picture stones (Swedish: bildsten) have been found in Gotland. In the early years of the 9th century female graves at Grobin become scarce. Later graves are those of seafaring Scandinavian males.

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