Is the Danish king who gave Bluetooth its name buried in Poland?

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WIEJKOWO, Poland (AP) — More than 1,000 years after his death in what is today Poland, a European king whose nickname lives on via wireless technology is at the center of an archaeological conflict.

Medieval chronicles say that Danish King Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson got his nickname, possibly from a dead, bluish-looking tooth. A chronicle from that period also says that the Viking king was buried at Roskilde in Denmark in the late 10th century.

But a Swedish archaeologist and a Polish researcher have recently claimed in separate publications that they have identified the most likely burial location in the village of Wiejkowo in northwestern Poland, which has ties to Vikings in Harald’s time.

Marek Kryda, author of “Viking Poland”, told The Associated Press that a “pagan mound” that Wiejkowo claims he found under a 19th-century Roman Catholic church likely contained the king’s remains. Geological satellite images found on the Polish government portal revealed a round shape resembling a Viking burial mound, Kryda said.

But Swedish archaeologist Sven Rosborn says Kryda is wrong because Harald, who converted from paganism to Christianity and founded churches in the area, must have found a suitable tomb somewhere in the churchyard. Wiejkowo’s Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary stands atop a small round mound.

Historians at the Danish National Museum in Copenhagen say they are familiar with Wiejkowo’s “proposition” that it was Harald’s burial place.

Rosborn detailed her research in her 2021 book, “The Viking King’s Golden Treasure,” and Kryda challenges some of the Swede’s findings in her own book published this year.

Harald, who died in 985, possibly in Jomsborg (what is now believed to be the Polish town of Wolin), was one of the last Viking kings to rule what is now Denmark, northern Germany and parts of Sweden and Norway. He spread Christianity in his kingdom.

Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson has named Bluetooth wireless technology the king’s, reflecting how he united much of Scandinavia during his lifetime. The technology’s logo is designed from Scandinavian runic letters for the king’s initials HB.

Rosborn, the former director of the Malmö City Museum in Sweden, was encouraged to seek her out in 2014 when an 11-year-old girl asked her opinion about a small coin-like object with an old-looking inscription in her family’s hand. for decades.

Experts determined that the gold cast disc, which piqued Maja Sielski’s curiosity, was from the 10th century. The Latin inscription on what is now known as the “Curmsun disk” reads: “Harald Gormsson (Latin Curmsun) King of Denmark, Scania, Jomsborg, town of Aldinburg.”

Sielski’s family, who moved to Sweden from Poland in 1986, said the disc came from a tomb found in a tomb under the church of Wiejkowo, which replaced a medieval chapel in 1841.

The Sielski family was founded in 1945 in the former German district II.

A family member who knew Latin appreciated the chronicles dating back to the 10th century and translated some of them into Polish. They speak of Harald, another fact that connects the Wiejkowo church to it.

The nearby Baltic Sea island and town of Wolin feed into the Viking history of the region: there is a runic stone in honor of Harald Bluetooth, and Slavs and Vikings hold festivals each year.

Kryda says the Curmsun disc is “extraordinary,” with its expressive inscription, and insists that examining Wiejkowo as Harald’s burial site is worth it, but there are currently no excavation plans.

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