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About Northern Emporium

Ribe is one of the most important archaeological sources for European history between the Migration period and medieval times. As the earliest town in Denmark, Ribe was a hub for maritime networks, connecting the world in new ways at the threshold of the maritime expansion of the Viking Age. The archaeology of early Ribe is exceptionally well-preserved but is threatened by deterioration and has since the 1970s mainly been subject to rescue excavations with very limited resources. This project will secure the exploration of one of Denmark’s most unique pockets of cultural heritage.

The excavation and research of the project shall result in significant new data and arguments in response to the basic research questions of the project, and have a quality to form a satisfactory basis of further analysis on Ribe both within and beyond the scope of this project. The project aims to presents a monograph synthesising the key results by 2020.


The project will complement the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet), paving the way for a new, interdisciplinary approach to archaeological excavation of cites’ cultural layers. This will be achieved by means of the development and practical implementation of High-Definition field methods, using geochemical element analysis, micromorphology and dynamic, electronic documentation methods throughout the excavation process.


The urbanism of Northern Europe and the development of commercial trade networks constitute a focal point for our understanding of the significance of resources and their distribution throughout history. The excavation of early Ribe could generate crucial new evidence of the processes and drivers that catalysed the development of specialised production, market exchange, maritime exchange and gloablised exploitation of resources in a historical perspective.


Museum of Southwest Jutland and the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre of Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) at Aarhus University (AU) have established a research partnership, which include training excavations 2014–2016, scientific analyses of different finds and types of material as well as collaboration revolving around the annual Byarkæologisk Møde in Ribe.