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Birka is situated on the island of Björko (Birch Island), in Lake Mälaren, c. 30 kilometres west of Stockholm.

The trading site was established in the second half of the 8th century and is one of the earliest emporia in Scandinavia. There are three main parts to the site: a fortified area, "the Borg" (centre top in the picture), the main settlement area with its extensive deposits of “Black Earth”, fronting on to lake Mälaren (middle right in the picture) and the cemetery (among the trees in the bottom of the picture). The mounds of the cemetery are more visible in the snow-covered picture below.

From 1990 to 1995 a series of important excavations took place in the Black Earth. You can find a short description of the project here...

See also: Birka and Hovgården; Birka: Trade Center and Gateway for Viking Age Sweden



The Trading Emporium of Birka

A short clip from: VIKINGS: Who Were the They? Part 2 BBC Video

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