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Ribe

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In c. 855 the Danish King gave permission for the missionary Ansgar to found a church at Ribe. The documentary record of this event makes Ribe the earliest recorded town in Denmark, although dendrochronological dating of wood from a well lining gives the much earlier date of c. 705 for the foundation of the town.

The archaeological evidence shows that Ribe was an important trading emporium, forming a link between Scandinavia and Western Europe.

(You can see a map showing these trading connections here...)

The site may have began as a seasonal market, but the later market place was the result of planning, not organic growth, It is probable that Ribe was a royal foundation: two other massive projects from a similar period – the Kanhave Canal on Samsø (AD 726) and the Danevirke (AD 737) – suggest a central royal power in Denmark at the beginning of the 8th century.

Excavations at the nearby site of Dankirke suggest that this high status site might have been the predecessor of Ribe.

See also: Ribe; Ribe (Denmark); Viking Age crafts in Ribe - a summary

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