Why Did the Viking Trading Town of Kaupang Totally Disappear?

There are many historical mysteries in the medieval world, and leave it to ThorNews to ferret out the most interesting ones in Norway’s long history. This article concerns the old Viking village of Kaupang and the 1100-year-old conundrum of what happened to it. Great stuff, as usual!


Kaupang Viking Trading Town Norway

In the 800s AD, there may have lived 400-1000 residents in Kaupang. (Drawing: Flemming Bau / norgeshistorie.no)

The first trading towns in Scandinavia were established at the same time as the first Viking raids took place on the British Isles and the continent: Birka in Sweden, Hedeby and Ribe in Denmark and Kaupang in Norway.

“Kaupang”, which translates from “kaupangr” in Old Norse to “market” or “trading place” in English, was strategically placed in a narrow bay in Sikiringssal by the outlet of the Oslo Fjord, five kilometers northeast of Larvik in Vestfold.

Excavations confirm that the town was established in the years 780-800 AD, and for unknown reasons was abandoned about year 930.

The trading place was divided into many small plots with residential houses that were smaller than the Viking farms, but had the same structure: A long fireplace in the middle of the open room with benches…

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