Early Middle Ages

Beyond Scandza: Rediscovering the Saxon World

When I started the “Roter Geysir” project a little over two years ago, my main focus was to bring archaeological finds and topics to the foreground that were previously hardly publicly known. There are innumerable, very exciting topics that practically never leave the academic world, although there are many people who would be potentially interested in them. This is, of course, due to the difficulty of accessing academic publications (what can be found where?

An Old Saxon Wodan image north of Bremen

Northwest of Bremen, where the river Hunte leads into the Weser, lies the town of Elsfleth (see map in fig. 1), which has been attracting attention among archaeologists for several years. There, on an inconspicuous field in the area of the former embankment wall of the river, interesting finds have been made at regular intervals for quite some time. In addition to a large quantity of pottery, it is the countless metal finds that characterize the site called “Hogenkamp”.

Early Thor's hammer pendants outside Scandinavia

The Thor’s hammer pendants of the Viking Age are probably the best known and most popular artefacts of prehistoric heathen history. Today they are worn by millions of people all over the world, either as a sign of connection with the Nordic traditions or simply as a pieces of jewellery. Among the most famous Thor’s hammers are undoubtedly the two 10th century hoard finds from Bredsättra (Öland) and Erikstorp (Östergötland) as well as the Thor’s hammer from Skåne, for which no exact find spot is known.

A Map of the Saxon Wars

The Saxon Wars were not only an extremely brutal, but also a rather complex chapter of North German history (more on this here). In order to keep an overview of the multitude of events, it is therefore necessary to have a map that clearly shows the many historical sites. So far, however, there is no detailed map with a satisfying level of detail available in the vastness of the Internet (as well as in academic literature).

Pagan Saxon Resistance to Charlemagne’s Mission

The Saxon Wars of the late 8th and early 9th century are among the most brutal and ruthless conflicts of the early Middle Ages. Beginning with the destruction of the sacred Irminsul in 772 the Frankish Empire and its ruler Charlemagne started the invasion of the Saxon homeland, a then proto-democratic tribal confederation located in present-day Northern Germany. The goal was not only to force the country and its people under the Frankish despotism, but also to eradicate all pagan traditions, shown unvarnished in Charlemagne’s famous dictum, that the only choice left for the Saxons would either be baptism or death.